Lorenzo FusaroJul 26, 2021
Crises and Hegemonic Transitions
From Gramsci's Quaderni to the Contemporary World Economy
Haymarket Books 2020
Gramsci’s concept of hegemony is often invoked, but usually as a means of cultural critique and analysis. However, my guest Lorenzo Fusaro argues in his recent book Crises and Hegemonic Transitions: From Gramsci's Quaderni to the Contemporary World Economy (Haymarket Books, 2020) that Gramsci’s work is permeated by Marx’s economic critique and his theories of value. Split into two parts, the book is both a critical rereading of Gramsci, followed by a rereading of the last century of economic and political developments. The first half of the book involves a careful rereading of key concepts in Gramsci’s Prison Notebooks, rethinking concepts such as hegemony as being more closely related to the base, instead of simply being superstructural description. Hegemony is not above and beyond economic dynamics and antagonisms, but emerges from them and changes alongside them. This allows for a broadening of the theory conceptually, and also allows him to apply it to international relations, instead of being confined to a particular state. The second half of the book then traces the economic history of the 20th century, starting with the rise of the United States in the international scene in the 1920’s, and following through to its eventual unraveling on the world stage in the present day. And even though the book was first published in 2018, at the end Fusaro offered some speculations on how this reworked theory of hegemony might help us think about the recent COVID crisis and its aftermath. Synthesizing theory, history and economics, this is a book that offers a powerful punch, and will reward readers from a number of different angles, and offers some dynamic theoretical resources for understanding our current crisis, and what might be just around the corner.
Lorenzo Fusaro received his PhD in international political economy at King's College, London. He is an associate professor of political economy at the Universidad Autonoma Metropolitana in Mexico, and is also one of the editors of Revisiting Gramsci’s Laboratory.