Gramsci vs. ‘the political’


…the Schmittian concept of the political in reality participates in one of the most venerable illusions of the Western metaphysical tradition: namely, the dogmatic assertion of a moment that provides the essence for the contingent events that are determined by it. Political philosophy, as the specific form of philosophy that thinks the political (and as distinct from modern political science, which can only analyse mere’ politics), claims to have a privileged access to this moment…

…this approach offers a notion of a real political’ or true politics’ as a substitute for the pale imitations of traditional political philosophy and official’ politics. Žižek, for instance… has argued that a leftist position should insist on the unconditional primacy of the inherent antagonism as constitutive of the political’: the internal struggle which traverses the social body’. For Žižek, the political thus ultimately finds its foundation in the social, or rather, it is precisely the suppression of the constitutive internal division of the social that requires the emergence of the political as the terrain of its resolution, in its turn suppressed or deformed by existing politics.

…Gramsci does not provide a theory of the political’ as such, even less than he provides a general theory of politics’. Rather, he attempts to provide an analysis of the production’ or, more exactly, the constitution of the political’ — constitution in both the active and formalized sense — as a distinct social relation… Hegemony’ describes the process of this constitution, or the way in which historically identifiable political practices — the social relations of communication, coordination and organization of the project of a particular class or social group — have come to define the nature of politics’ as such…

— Peter Thomas, Gramsci and the Political