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RETHINKING MARXISM

VOLUME 15

NUMBER 2

(APRIL 2003)

Social Forces in the Struggle over Hegemony: Neo-Gramscian Perspectives in International Political Economy
Adam David Morton

Introduction
Situated within a historical materialist problematic of social transformation and deploying many insights from the Italian Marxist Antonio Gramsci, a crucial break with neorealist mainstream international relations approaches emerged by the 1980s in the work of Robert Cox. In contrast to mainstream problem-solving routes to hegemony in international relationsthat develop a static theory of politics; an abstract, ahistorical conception of the state; and an appeal to universal validity debate shifted toward a critical theory of hegemony, world order and historical change.1 Rather than a problem-solving preoccupation with the maintenance of social power relationships, a critical theory of hegemony directs attention to questioning the prevailing order of the world. It therefore does not take institutions and social and power relations for granted but calls them into question by concerning itself with their origins and whether they might be in the process of changing (Cox 1981, 129). Yet, instead of contrasting the concerns of these competing approaches, the aim here is to pursue a critical theoretical route to questions of hegemony. This move does not necessarily foreclose dialogue between problem-solving and critical theory, as they are not mutually exclusive enterprises, but it does remain wary of the assimilatory calls for synthesis that emanate from mainstream exponents.2 The critical impetus bears a less than direct affiliation to the constellation of social thought known as the Frankfurt School represented by, among others, the work
1. While differences exist, the neorealist work of Kenneth Waltz, as well as that of Robert Keohane, can be included within mainstream, problem-solving international relations approaches to hegemony (see Waltz 1979, 1990, 1998, 1999; Keohane 1984, 1986, 1989a). The classic critique remains that by Richard Ashley (1984). 2. The call for synthesis has been an abiding concern among many advocates of mainstream international relations theory (see Baldwin 1993; Katzenstein, Keohane, and Krasner 1998; Keohane 1989a, 1734, 1989b, 1998). It can be regarded as a principal tactic in allocating the terms of debate and settling competing ontological and epistemological claims (see Smith 1995a, 2000; Tickner 1997, 1998; Weber 1994). ISSN 0893-5696 print/ISSN 1475-8059 online/03/020153-27 2003 Association for Economic and Social Analysis DOI: 10.1080/0893569032000113514

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of Max Horkheimer, Theodor Adorno or, more recently, Jrgen Habermas (Cox 1995a, 32).3 Although overlaps may exist, it is specifically critical in the sense of asking how existing social or world orders have come into being; how norms, institutions, or social practices therefore emerge; and what forces may have the emancipatory potential to change or transform the prevailing order. As such, a critical theory develops a dialectical theory of history concerned not just with the past but with a continual process of historical change and with exploring the potential for alternative forms of development (Cox 1981, 129, 1334). This critical theory of hegemony thus focuses on interaction between particular processes, notably springing from the dialectical possibilities of change within the sphere of production and the exploitative character of social relationsnot as unchanging, ahistorical essences but as a continuing creation of new forms (132). The emergence of this problematic can also be situated within a reaction to the more scientific or positivistic currents within historical materialism. It is well known that Antonio Gramsci himself reacted against the crude reasoning of Nikolai Bukharin in the Popular Manual that sought to establish historical materialism as a positive science or sociology (Bukharin 1969; Gramsci 1971, 41972). Similarly, for Cox, a historical mode of thought was brought to bear on the study of historical change as a reaction to the static and abstract understanding of capitalism associated with Louis Althusser. Not unlike neorealist problem-solving approaches, Althusser sought to design an ahistorical, systematic, and universalistic epistemology that amounted to a Theological Marxism in its endeavor to reveal the inner essence of the universe (Althusser 1969). The scientific character of Marxist knowledge was customarily asserted by Althusser (1970, 132) in contrast with Coxs divergent, historical materialist insistence on considering the ideational and material basis of social practices inscribed in the transformative struggles between social forces stemming from productive processes (Cox 1981, 133; 1983, 163). The first section of this paper therefore outlines the conceptual framework developed by Robert Cox and what has been recognized (see Morton 2001a) as similar, but diverse, neo-Gramscian perspectives in international political economy that constitute a distinct critical theory route to considering hegemony, world order, and historical change. Subsequently, attention will turn to situating the world economic crisis of the 1970s within the more recent debates about globalization and how this period of structural change has been conceptualized. Finally, various controversies surrounding the neo-Gramscian perspectives will be traced before elaborating in conclusion the directions along which future research might proceed.

A Critical Theory Route to Hegemony, World Order, and Historical Change


According to Cox, patterns of production relations are the starting point for analyzing the operation and mechanisms of hegemony. Yet, from the start, this should not be
3. For useful discussion of the contradictory strands and influences between Frankfurt School critical theory and critical international relations theory, see Wyn Jones (2000).

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taken as a move that reduces everything to production in an economistic sense: Production . . . is to be understood in the broadest sense. It is not confined to the production of physical goods used or consumed. It covers the production and reproduction of knowledge and of the social relations, morals and institutions that are prerequisites to the production of physical goods (Cox 1989, 39). These patterns are referred to as modes of social relations of production, which encapsulate configurations of social forces engaged in the process of production. By discerning different modes of social relations of production, it is possible to consider how changing production relations give rise to particular social forces that become the bases of power within and across states and within a specific world order (Cox 1987, 4). The objective of outlining different modes of social relations of production is to question what promotes the emergence of particular modes and what might explain the way in which modes combine or undergo transformation (103). It is argued that the reciprocal relationship between production and power is crucial. To examine this relationship, a framework is developed that focuses on how power in social relations of production may give rise to certain social forces, how these social forces may become the bases of power in forms of state, and how this might shape world order. This framework revolves around the social ontology of historical structures. A social ontology merely refers to the key properties that are thought to constitute the social world and thus represents claims about the nature and relationship of agents and social structures. In this case, the social ontology of historical structures refers to persistent social practices, made by collective human activity and transformed through collective human activity (4). An attempt is therefore made to capture the reciprocal relationship of structures and actors (Cox 1995a, 33; 2000b, 559; Bieler and Morton 2001). Three spheres of activity thus constitute an historical structure: the social relations of production, encompassing the totality of social relations in material, institutional and discursive forms that engender particular social forces; forms of state, consisting of historically contingent state/civil society complexes; and world orders, which not only represent phases of stability and conflict, but permit scope for thinking about how alternative forms of world order might emerge (Cox 1981, 1358). These are represented schematically in fig. 1 (138). If considered dialectically, in relation to each other, then it becomes possible to represent the historical process through the particular configuration of historical structures. Social forces, as the main collective actors engendered by the social

Social relations of production

Forms of state
Fig. 1. The dialectical relation of forces

World orders

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relations of production, operate within and across all spheres of activity. Through the rise of contending social forces, linked to changes in production, there may occur mutually reinforcing transformations in the forms of state and world order. There is no unilinear relationship between the spheres of activity, and the point of departure to explain the historical process may vary. For example, the point of departure could equally be that of forms of state or world orders (153 n. 26). Within each of the three main spheres it is argued that three further elements reciprocally combine to constitute an historical structure: ideas, understood as intersubjective meanings as well as collective images of world order; material capabilities, referring to accumulated resources; and institutions, which are amalgams of the previous two elements. These again are represented schematically in fig. 2 (136). The aim is to break down over time coherent historical structuresconsisting of different patterns of social relations of production, forms of state, and world order that have existed within the capitalist mode of production (Cox 1987, 3968). In this sense the point of departure for Cox is that of world order, and it is at this stage that a discrete notion of hegemony begins to play a role in the overall conceptual framework. Within a world order, a situation of hegemony may prevail based on a coherent conjunction or fit between a configuration of material power, the prevalent collective image of world order (including certain norms) and a set of institutions which administer the order with a certain semblance of universality (Cox 1981, 139). Hegemony thus becomes more than simply state dominance. It appears as an expression of broadly based consent manifest in the acceptance of ideas, supported by material resources and institutions, which is initially established by social forces occupying a leading role within a state but is then projected outward on a world scale. Hegemony is therefore a form of dominance, but it refers more to a consensual order so that dominance by a powerful state may be a necessary but not a sufficient condition of hegemony (139). As Cox has put it, hegemony is a form in which dominance is obscured by achieving an appearance of acquiescence . . . as if it were the natural order of things . . . [It is] an internalized coherence which has most probably arisen from an externally imposed order but has been transformed into an intersubjectively constituted reality (1994: 366). Hence the importance of incorporating an intersubjective realm within a focus on hegemony. If hegemony is understood as an opinion-molding activity rather than as brute force or dominance, then consideration has to turn to how a hegemonic social or world order is based on values and understandings that permeate the nature of that order (Cox

Ideas

Material capabilities
Fig. 2. The dialectical moment of hegemony

Institutions

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1996b, 151), hence to how intersubjective meaningsshared notions about social relationsshape reality. Reality is not only the physical environment of human action but also the institutional, moral and ideological context that shapes thoughts and actions (Cox 1997, 252). The crucial point to make, then, is that hegemony filters through structures of society, economy, culture, gender, ethnicity, class, and ideology. These are dimensions that escape conventional international relations routes to hegemony that simply equate the notion with state dominance. As a result, they conflate the two forms of power. There is a failure to acknowledge that there can be dominance without hegemony; [and that] hegemony is one possible form dominance may take (Cox 1981, 153 n. 27). By including the intersubjective realm within a theory of hegemony, it is also possible to begin appreciating alternative conceptions and different understandings of the world. In this sense Cox refers to civilizations as different realms of intersubjectivity, although there might exist common ground or points of contact between the distinct and separate subjectivities of different, coexisting civilizations (Cox 1996a, 2000a, 2001). Rival forms of capitalism are tied up with struggles between different civilizations or ways of life so that the challenge is to articulate shared ideas that can bridge the different realms of intersubjectivity (Cox 1995b, 16). This applies as much to the maintenance of a hegemonic situation as it does to bids for counterhegemony that aim to challenge and transform a prevailing hegemony. Attention within this alternative route to hegemony therefore moves beyond simply defining hegemony in state centric terms. It does so by broadening the inquiry to include an intersubjective realm as well as encompassing a focus on the social basis of the state. The latter key development will now be discussed in a little more detail. This part of the discussion will also begin to indicate the role played by some of Antonio Gramscis pivotal concepts. Rather than reducing hegemony to a single dimension of dominance based on the capabilities of states, the neo-Gramscian perspective developed by Cox broadens the domain of hegemony. The conceptual framework outlined above considers how new modes of social relations of production become established within distinctive forms of state; how changes in production relations give rise to configurations of social forces upon which state power may rest; and how world order conditions may impinge upon these other spheres. Therefore, rather than taking the state as a given or preconstituted institutional category, consideration is given to the historical construction of various forms of state and the social context of political struggle. This is accomplished by drawing upon the concept of historical bloc and widening a theory of the state to include relations within civil society. A historical bloc refers to the way in which leading social forces within a specific national context establish a relationship over contending social forces. It is more than simply a political alliance between social forces represented by classes or fractions of classes. It indicates the integration of a variety of different class interests that are propagated throughout society bringing about not only a unison of economic and political aims, but also intellectual and moral unity . . . on a universal plane (Gramsci 1971, 1812). The very nature of a historical bloc, as Anne Showstack Sassoon (1987, 123) has outlined, necessarily implies the existence of hegemony. Indeed, the universal plane that Gramsci had in mind was the

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creation of hegemony by a fundamental social group over subordinate groups. Hegemony would therefore be established if the relationship between intellectuals and people-nation, between the leaders and the led, the rulers and the ruled, is provided by an organic cohesion . . . Only then can there take place an exchange of individual elements between the rulers and ruled, leaders . . . and led, and can the shared life be realized which alone is a social forcewith the creation of the historical bloc (Gramsci 1971, 418). These issues are encompassed within the focus on different forms of state which, as Cox notes, are principally distinguished by the characteristics of their historic[al] blocs, i.e. the configurations of social forces upon which state power ultimately rests. A particular configuration of social forces defines in practice the limits or parameters of state purposes, and the modus operandi of state action, defines, in other words, the raison dtat for a particular state (Cox 1987, 105). In short, by considering different forms of state, it becomes possible to analyze the social basis of the state or to conceive of the historical content of different states. The notion of the historical bloc aids this endeavor by directing attention to which social forces may have been crucial in the formation of a historical bloc or particular state; what contradictions may be contained within a historical bloc upon which a form of state is founded; and what potential might exist for the formation of a rival historical bloc that may transform a particular form of state (409 n. 10). A wider theory of the state therefore emerges within this framework. Instead of underrating state power and explaining it away, attention is given to social forces and processes and how these relate to the development of states (Cox 1981, 128). Considering different forms of state as the expression of particular historical blocs and thus relations across state/civil society fulfils this objective. Overall, this relationship is referred to as the state/civil society complex that, clearly, owes an intellectual debt to Gramsci. For Gramsci, the state was not simply understood as an institution limited to the government of the functionaries or the top political leaders and personalities with direct governmental responsibilities. The tendency to solely concentrate on such features of the state was pejoratively termed statolatry: it entailed viewing the state as a perpetual entity limited to actions within political society (Gramsci 1971, 178, 268). It could be argued that certain neorealist, state centric approaches in international relations succumb to the tendency of statolatry. However, according to Gramsci, the state presents itself in a second way, beyond the political society of public figures and top leaders: the state is the entire complex of practical and theoretical activities with which the ruling class not only justifies and maintains its dominance, but manages to win the active consent of those over whom it rules (244). This second aspect of the state is referred to as civil society. The realms of political and civil society within modern states were inseparable so that, taken together, they combine to produce a notion of the integral state. What we can do . . . is to fix two major . . . levels: the one that can be called civil society, that is the ensemble of organisms commonly called private, and that of political society or the state. These two levels

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correspond on the one hand to the function of hegemony which the dominant group exercises throughout society and on the other hand to that of direct domination or command exercised through the state and juridical government. (Gramsci 1971, 12) The state should be understood, then, not just as the apparatus of government operating within the public sphere (government, political parties, military) but also as part of the private sphere of civil society (church, media, education) through which hegemony functions (261). It can therefore be argued that the state in this conception is understood as a social relation. The state is not unquestioningly taken as a distinct institutional category, or thing in itself, but conceived as a form of social relations through which capitalism and hegemony are expressed (Poulantzas 1978). At an analytical level, then, the general notion of the state includes elements which need to be referred back to the notion of civil society (in the sense that one might say that state = political society + civil society, in other words hegemony protected by the armour of coercion) (Gramsci 1971, 263). It is this combination of political and civil society that is referred to as the integral state through which ruling classes organize intellectual and moral functions as part of the political and cultural struggle for hegemony in the effort to establish an ethical state (258, 271). Once again, the notion of hegemony is therefore extended and more fully developed than in conventional approaches in international relations. Hegemony is understood, as Overbeek (1994) has added, as a form of class rule, not primarily as a hierarchy of states. For Cox, class is viewed as a historical category and employed in a heuristic way rather than as a static analytical category (Cox 1987, 3557, 1996e, 57). This means that class identity emerges within and through historical processes of economic exploitation. Bring back exploitation as the hallmark of class, and at once class struggle is in the forefront, as it should be (Ste. Croix 1981, 57). As such, class-consciousness emerges, as E. P. Thompson (1968, 89; 1978) has argued, out of particular historical contexts of struggle rather than mechanically deriving from objective determinations that have an automatic place in production relations. Hence class identity is captured within the broader notion of social forces. Class identity is inscribed in social forces, but those are not reducible to class. Other forms of identity are included within the rubric of social forcesethnic, nationalist, religious, gender, sexualwith the aim of addressing how, like class, these derive from a common material basis linked to relations of exploitation (Cox 1992, 35). The construction of hegemony, from a neo-Gramscian perspective, therefore occurs when a leading class transcends its particular economic-corporate interests and is capable of binding and cohering the diverse aspirations and general interests of various social forces. Within some neo-Gramscian perspectives, the construction of hegemony is sometimes referred to as a comprehensive concept of control. A concept of control represents a bid for hegemony: a project for the conduct of public affairs and social control that aspires to be a legitimate approximation of the general interest in the eyes of the ruling class and, at the same time, the majority of the population, for at least a specific period.

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It evolves through a series of compromises in which the fractional, special interests are arbitrated and synthesized. (van der Pijl 1984, 7)4

Reference to the construction of hegemony, or the propagation throughout society of a comprehensive concept of control, may be interchangeable. In either case, to paraphrase Gramsci (1971, 1812), the process involves the most purely political phase of struggle and occurs on a universal plane to result in the forging of a historical bloc. A historical bloc therefore implies the constitution of a radical and novel reconstruction of the relational nature and identity of different interests within a social formation (Nimni 1994, 107). It indicates an organic link between a diverse grouping of interests that merge forms of class and cultural identity. The construction of a historical bloc, Cox (1983, 168) adds, is therefore a national phenomenon and cannot exist without a hegemonic social class. Yet the hegemony of a leading class can manifest itself as an international phenomenon insofar as it represents the development of a particular form of the social relations of production. Once hegemony has been consolidated domestically, it may expand beyond a particular social order to move outward on a world scale and insert itself through the world order (171; 1987, 14950). By doing so it can connect social forces across different countries. A world hegemony is thus in its beginnings an outward expansion of the internal (national) hegemony established by a . . . social class (Cox 1983, 171). The outward expansion of particular modes of social relations of production and the interests of a leading class on a world scale can also become supported by mechanisms of international organization. This is what Gramsci (1971, 243) referred to as the internal and international organizational relations of the state: that is, movements, voluntary associations and organizations, such as the Rotary Club, or the Roman Catholic Church that had an international character though rooted within the state. Social forces may thus achieve hegemony within a national social order as well as through world order by ensuring the promotion and expansion of a mode of production. Hegemony can therefore operate at two levels: by constructing a historical bloc and establishing social cohesion within a form of state as well as by expanding a mode of production internationally and projecting hegemony through the level of world order. The national point of departure, however, remains vital. It is within a particular historical bloc and form of state that hegemony is initially constructed. Yet, beyond this initial consolidation, as hegemony begins to be asserted internationally, it is also within other different countries and particular forms of state that struggles may develop as a result of the introduction of new modes of production. For instance, in Gramscis time, this was born out by the expansion of Fordist assembly plant production beyond the United States which would lead to the growing world hegemony and power of Americanism and Fordism from the 1920s and 1930s. The way in which world hegemony may consolidate itself locally within a different national setting is illuminated by the following passage: It is in the concept of hegemony that those exigencies which are national in character are knotted together
4. For further perspectives developing this notion of hegemonic, or comprehensive, concepts of control see, Overbeek (1990, 1993) or van der Pijl (1998).

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. . . A class that is international in character hasin as much as it guides social strata which are narrowly national (intellectuals), and indeed frequently even less than national: particularistic and municipalistic (the peasants)to nationalize itself in a certain sense (241; emphasis added). As van der Pijl (1989, 12) has noted in relation to this passage, the struggle for hegemony therefore involves translating particular interests, from a particular form of state into forms of expansion that have universal applicability across a variety of different states. Hence the importance of the national point of departure. It is within this context that hegemony is initially constructed, prior to outward expansion on a world scale, and it is within this context that struggles unfold in contesting hegemony. The national context remains the only place where an historic[al] bloc can be founded, although world-economy and world-political conditions materially influence the prospects for such an enterprise . . . [T]he task of changing world order begins with the long, laborious effort to build new historic[al] blocs within national boundaries (Cox 1983, 174). As indicated above, world hegemony can be attained when international institutions and mechanisms support a dominant mode of production and disseminate universal norms and ideas, involving the intersubjective realm, in a move to transform various state structures. In particular, international organizations can play a key role in adjusting subordinate interests while facilitating the expansion of the dominant economic and social forces (1723). With this emphasis, three successive stages of world order are outlined by Cox within which the hegemonic relationship between ideas, institutions, and material capabilities varied, and during which different forms of state and patterns of production relations prevailed. These are the liberal international economy (17891873); the era of rival imperialisms (18731945); and the neoliberal world order (post-World War II) (Cox 1987, 109). Concentrating on the third era, known as pax Americana it is contended that a United States-led hegemonic world order prevailed that was maintained through the Bretton Woods system of fixed exchange rates and institutions like the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. These institutions, along with the Group of Seven (G-7) industrialized countries, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, and the Bank for International Settlements, have been collectively referred to as the G-7 nexus (Gill 1995a, 86). They have established mechanisms of surveillance to ensure the harmonization of national policies in the attempt to reconcile domestic social pressures with the requirements of a world economy (Cox 1981, 145). In the countries of advanced capitalism, the prevailing form of state was based on principles of embedded liberalism (Ruggie 1982). There was a compromise between certain domestic social groups (i.e., established labor seeking stability and protection from economic and political vulnerabilities) and the interests of multilateral institutions in the G-7 nexus with the aim of encouraging comparative advantage, tariff reductions and international free trade, and increasing the international division of labor through the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT). Within this form of state of embedded liberalism, Keynesian demand management was promoted alongside Fordist techniques of mass production (Gill and Law 1988, 7980). The role of the state was to act as a mediator between the policy priorities of the world economy and domestic groups. This was generally maintained

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through social relations of production known as tripartite corporatism involving government-business-labor coalitions. Such arrangements lent priority to central agencies of government that maintained links between the national and the world economyto wit, finance ministries, foreign trade and investment agencies, and the office of presidents or prime ministers (Cox 1987, 21930).5 This situation was eventually accentuated following the world economic crisis of the 1970s and the collapse of the Bretton Woods system during a period of structural change in the world economy. Elsewhere in the emerging global political economy, in countries of peripheral capitalism, the form of state during the post-World War II period of United Statesled hegemony was generally based on principles of neomercantilist development. This entailed more state-directed leadership that sought autonomy over the national economy and growth through a model of import substitution industrialization. This form of state was characterized by state corporatist social relations of production. Yet, due to foreign penetration of the national economy, such production relations did not encompass the whole economy. There would therefore be overlaps between different modes, including enterprise and tripartite corporatism as well as subsistence agricultural production, organized within a hierarchical arrangement (2304). In the embedded liberal and neomercantilist forms of state, however, it is argued that the forms and functions of United States-led hegemony began to alter during a phase of structural change in the 1970s (see Morton 2003b). This contention is based around twin propositions linked to the internationalization of the state and the internationalization of production. It is commonly argued that these developments precipitated moves toward the phenomenon that is now recognized as globalization.

Structural Change, Alternative Forms of State, and Production Relations


The world economic crisis of 19734 followed the abandonment of the U.S. dollar/ gold standard link and signaled a move away from the Bretton Woods system of fixed exchange rates to more flexible adjustment measures. The crisis involved oil price rises initiated by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and heightened inflation and indebtedness within the countries of advanced capitalism. The post-World War II embedded liberal world order based on Keynesian demand management and Fordist industrialism, involving tripartite, corporatist-type relations between government-business-labor, gave way to a restructuring of the social relations of production. This involved the encouragement of social relations of production based on enterprise corporatism, leading a shift in the coalitional basis of various states away from a secure, unionized state sector toward the promotion
5. It is worth noting that though the state form of embedded liberalism is referred to by Cox as the neoliberal state, this precedent is not followed. This is because confusion can result when using his term and distinguishing it from the more conventional understanding of neoliberalism related to processes in the late 1970s and 1980s, which he calls hyperliberalism.

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of private business interests and the creation of favorable conditions for internationally and transnationally oriented business (Cox 1987, chap. 8). Hence a period of structural change unfolded in the 1970s during which there was a tendency to encourage, through different state/civil society relations, the consolidation of new priorities. However, the ongoing changes stemming from the context of 1970s structural change have been far from uniform. Nevertheless, the rising priorities of enterprise corporatismamong others, monetarism, supply-side economics, and the logic of competitivenessbegan increasingly to establish, albeit alongside prolonged social struggle, a hegemonic aura throughout the world order during the 1980s and 1990s often referred to as the Reagan-Thatcher model of capitalism (Cox 1991/1996, 196). As Craig Murphy has noted, adjustment to the crisis occurred at different rates in different regions, but in each case it resulted in a neo-liberal shift in governmental economic policy and the increasing prominence of financial capital (1998a, 159). During this period of structural change in the 1970s, then, the social basis across many forms of state altered as the logic of capitalist market relations created a crisis of authority in established institutions and modes of governance (see Morton 2003b). This overall crisis, both of the world economy and of social power within various forms of state, has been explained as the result of two particular tendencies: the internationalization of production and the internationalization of the state that led the thrust toward globalization. Since the erosion of pax Americana principles of world order in the 1970s, there has been an increasing internationalization of production and finance driven, at the apex of an emerging global class structure, by a transnational managerial class (Cox 1981, 147). Taking advantage of differences between countries, there has been an integration of production processes on a transnational scale with transnational corporations promoting the operation of different elements of a single process in different territorial locations. Besides the transnational managerial class, other elements of productive capital (involved in manufacturing and extraction), including small- and medium-sized businesses acting as contractors and suppliers and import/ export businesses, as well as elements of financial capital (involved in banking insurance and finance) have been supportive of this internationalization of production. Hence there has been a rise in the structural power of internationally mobile capital supported and promoted by forms of elite interaction that have forged common perspectives among business, state officials, and representatives of international organizations favoring the logic of capitalist market relations (Gill and Law 1989, 484). While some have championed such changes as the retreat of the state (Strange 1996) or the emergence of a borderless world (Ohmae 1990, 1996), and others have decried the global proportions of such changes in production (Hirst and Thompson 1996; Weiss 1998), it is argued here that the internationalization of production has profoundly restructuredbut not erodedthe role of the state. After all, the state as an institutional and social entity . . . creates the possibility for the limitation of such structural power, partly because of the political goods and services which it supplies to capitalists and the institutional autonomy it possesses. The stance of the state towards freedom of enterprise . . . is at the heart of this issue (Gill and Law 1989, 480). The notion of the internationalization of the state captures this dynamic by

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referring to the way transnational processes of consensus formation, underpinned by the internationalization of production and the thrust of globalization, have been transmitted through the policy-making channels of governments.6 The network of control that has maintained the structural power of capital has also been supported by an axis of influence consisting of institutions within the G-7 nexus (see above). These institutions, along with the Trilateral Commission and other forums, have ensured the ideological osmosis and dissemination of policies in favor of the perceived exigencies of the global political economy. As a result, those state agencies in close contact with the global economyoffices of presidents and prime ministers, treasuries, central bankshave gained precedence over those agencies closest to domestic public policyministries of labor and industry or planning offices (Cox 1992, 31). It has been argued that this tendency in the transformation of the state and the role of transnational elites (or a nbuleuse) in forging consensus remains to be fully deciphered and needs much more study (301). Indeed, the overall argument concerning the internationalization of the state was based on a series of linked hypotheses suggestive for empirical investigation (Cox 1996d, 276). Nevertheless, across the different forms of state in countries of advanced and peripheral capitalism, the general depiction is that the state became a transmission belt for neoliberalism and the logic of capitalist competition from global to local spheres (Cox 1992, 31). Although the thesis of the internationalization of the state has received much recent criticism, the work of Stephen Gill has greatly contributed to understanding this process as part of the changing character of United States-centered hegemony in the global political economy, notably in his detailed analysis of the role of the Trilateral Commission (Gill 1990). Similar to Cox, the global restructuring of production along post-Fordist lines is located within a context of structural change in the 1970s. It was in this period that there was a transition from what Gill recognizes as an international historical bloc of social forces, established in the post-World War II period and centered in the United States but expanding on a world scale. This bloc brought together fractions of productive and financial capital and elements within state apparatuses to form a transatlantic political community. Since the 1970s, conditions have emerged for the consolidation of a transnational historical bloc, forging links and a synthesis of interests and identities not only beyond national boundaries and classes but also creating the conditions for the hegemony of transnational capital. While there is reluctance to presume that transnational hegemony has thus been attained, it is added that certain social forces have become prominent and have attempted to achieve transnational hegemony. Yet Gill departs from Gramsci to assert that a historical bloc may at times have the potential to become hegemonic, implying that hegemony need not prevail for a historical bloc to emerge (Gill 1993, 40). The case of the European Economic and Monetary Union is analyzed within the terms of a transnational historical bloc (Gill 2001, 545). Elsewhere it is added that the consolidation of neoliberalism within such a bloc is based on supremacy rather than hegemony. Again drawing in principle from Gramsci, it is argued that supremacy prevails when a situation of hegemony is not
6. For a similar, but competing, interpretation, see Picciotto (1991).

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apparent and when dominance is exercised through a historical bloc over fragmented opposition. It is therefore argued that dominant forces within the contemporary transnational historical bloc of neoliberalism practice a politics of supremacy (Gill 1995b, 400, 402, 412).7 This politics of supremacy is organized through two key processes, the new constitutionalism of disciplinary neoliberalism, and the concomitant spread of market civilization. According to Gill, new constitutionalism involves the narrowing of the social basis of popular participation within the world order of disciplinary neoliberalism. It involves the hollowing out of democracy and the affirmation, in matters of political economy, of a set of macroeconomic policies such as market efficiency, discipline and confidence, policy credibility and competitiveness. It is the move towards construction of legal or constitutional devices to remove or insulate substantially the new economic institutions from popular scrutiny or democratic accountability (Gill 1991; 1992, 165). It results in an attempt to make neoliberalism the sole model of development by disseminating the notion of market civilization based on an ideology of capitalist progress and exclusionary or hierarchical patterns of social relations (1995b, 399). Within the global political economy, mechanisms of surveillance have supported the market civilization of new constitutionalism in something tentatively likened to a global panopticon of surveillance (1995c). Overall, it is argued by Gill that these features of new constitutionalism, disciplinary neoliberalism, and market civilization are supported by the politics of supremacy rather than hegemony. The overarching concept of supremacy has also been used to develop an understanding of the construction of U.S. foreign policy toward the Third World and how challenges were mounted against the US in the 1970s through the New International Economic Order (Augelli and Murphy 1988). It is argued that the ideological promotion of American liberalism, based on individualism and free trade, assured American supremacy through the 1970s and was reconstructed in the 1980s. Yet this projection of supremacy did not simply unfold through domination. Rather than simply equating supremacy with dominance, Augelli and Murphy argue that supremacy can be maintained through domination or hegemony (132). As Murphy (1994, 295 n. 8) outlines in a separate study of industrial change and international organization, supremacy defines the position of a leading class within a historical bloc and can be secured by hegemony as well as through domination. As Gramsci himself states, the supremacy of a social group manifests itself in two ways, as domination and as intellectual and moral leadership (1971, 57). Where the former strain of supremacy involves subjugation by force, the latter involves leading allied groups. In sum, just as hegemony itself should not be equated with domination, neither should the notion of supremacy suffer the same fate. In addition to the neo-Gramscian perspectives discussed so far, there also exists a diverse array of similar perspectives analyzing hegemony in the global political economy. This includes, among others, an account of the historically specific way in which mass production was institutionalized in the United States and how this propelled forms of American-centered leadership and world hegemony in the postWorld War II period (Rupert 1995a). Extending this analysis, there has also been
7. The same argument is also apparent in Gill (1998).

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consideration of struggles between social forces in the United States over the North American Free Trade Agreement and globalization (Rupert 1995b, 2000). There have also been analyses of European integration within the context of globalization and the role of transnational classes within European governance (Bieler 2000; Bieler and Morton 2001b; van Apeldoorn 2000; Holman and van der Pijl 1996; Holman, Overbeek, and Ryner 1998; Shields 2001, 2003); the internationalization and democratization of Southern Europe, particularly Spain, within the global political economy (Holman 1996); and analysis of international organizations, including the role of gender and womens movements (Lee 1995; Stienstra 1994; Whitworth 1994). There has also been a recent return to understanding forms of U.S. foreign policy intervention within countries of peripheral capitalism. This has included analyzing the promotion of polyarchy defined as a system in which a small group actually rules and mass participation in decision-making is confined to leadership choice in elections carefully managed by elites (Robinson 1996, 49). Polyarchy, or low-intensity democracy, is therefore analyzed as an adjunct of U.S. hegemony through institutions such as the U.S. Agency for International Development and the National Endowment for Democracy in the particular countries of the Philippines, Chile, Nicaragua, and Haiti, and tentatively extended with reference to the former Soviet bloc and South Africa. Other recent research has similarly focused on the promotion of democracy in Southern Africa (Taylor 2001) as well as the construction and contestation of hegemony in Mexico (Morton 2002, 2003a, 2003b). Furthermore, aspects of neoliberalism and cultural hegemony have been dealt with in a study of mass communications scholarship in Chile (Davies 1999). There are clearly a variety of neo-Gramscian perspectives dealing with a diversity of issues linked to the analysis of hegemony in the global political economy. The next section outlines some of the criticisms leveled against such perspectives and indicates in what direction current research is proceeding.

Welcome Debate: Controversies Surrounding Neo-Gramscian Perspectives


Since the challenge of neo-Gramscian perspectives to mainstream problem-solving approaches in international relations, a more recent period of intellectual and political ferment has arisen. This has involved closer scrutiny of the neo-Gramscian perspectives themselves from a variety of viewpoints. Yet, there has been rare engagement with such criticisms. Beneath the surface impression of claims to openness, therefore, it seems that, in relation to criticisms, a politics of forgetting has persisted. Yet, as Steve Smith (1995b) has forewarned, it is incumbent upon such perspectives to remain self-reflective about possible weaknesses. This section will therefore outline a series of criticisms made against the perspectives as well as highlight issues of disagreement with such criticisms. In broad outline, neo-Gramscian perspectives have been criticized as too unfashionably marxisant or, alternatively, as too lacking in Marxist rigor. They are seen as unfashionable because many retain an essentially historical materialist position as central to analysisfocusing on the decisive nucleus of economic activity (Gramsci

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1971, 161)but without succumbing to expressions of economism. Hence the accusation that analysis remains caught within modernist assumptions that take as foundational the structures of historical processes determining the realms of the possible (Ashley 1989, 275). However, rather than succumbing to this problem, the fallibility of all knowledge claims is accepted across neo-Gramscian perspectives, which leads to a degree of diffidence about the foundations for knowledge (see Neufeld 1995). A minimal foundationalism is therefore implied, based on a cautious, contingent, and transitory universalism that combines dialogue between universal values and local definitions within historically specific circumstances (Booth 1995; Cox 1995b, 14; Cox 2000b, 46; Linklater 1998, 45, 101, 1067; Rengger and Hoffman 1996).8 Elsewhere, other commentators have alternatively decried the lack of historical materialist rigor within neo-Gramscian perspectives. According to Peter Burnham (1991), the neo-Gramscian treatment of hegemony amounts to a pluralist empiricism that fails to recognize the central importance of the capital relation and is therefore preoccupied with the articulation of ideology. By granting equal weight to ideas and material capabilities, it is argued, the contradictions of the capital relation are blurred, resulting in a slide towards an idealist account of the determination of economic policy (81). Hence there is an inability to grapple with the dynamics of globalization because the categories of state and market are regarded as opposed forms of social organization that operate separately, in external relationship to one another. This leads to a supposed reification of the state as a thing in itself standing outside the relationship between capital and labor (Burnham 1997, 1999, 2000). Instead, it is recommended that a totalizing theory, rooted in central organizing principles, be developed that is attentive to the relations between labor, capital, and the state. To what extent this totalizing approach results in a unified view of labor and a heroic vision of the working class as an undifferentiated mass is, however, an open question. In specific response to these criticisms, it was outlined earlier in the paper how the social relations of production are taken as the starting point for thinking about world order and the way they engender configurations of social forces. By thus asking which modes of social relations of production within capitalism have been prevalent in particular historical circumstances, the state is not treated as an unquestioned category. Indeed, rather closer to Burnhams own position than he might admit, the state is treated as an aspect of the social relations of production so that questions about the apparent separation of politics and economics or states and markets within capitalism are promoted (see Burnham 1994). Although a fully developed theory of the state is not evident, there clearly exists a set of at least implicit assumptions about the state as a form of social relations through which capitalism and hegemony are expressed. Therefore, akin to arguments elsewhere, it is possible from within a neo-Gramscian perspective to raise questions about how different forms of state are established and howthrough the contradictions of capitalthe functions of the state are revised and supplemented (Holloway and Picciotto 1977). Additionally, Burnham (1991, 76) argues that the account of hegemony developed across neo-Gramscian perspectives is barely distinguishable from a sophisticated
8. These issues are usefully surveyed in George (1994).

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neo-realist account. Yet this undervalues a critical theory route to hegemony and the insistence on an ethical dimension to analysis in which questions of justice, legitimacy and moral credibility are integrated sociologically into the whole and into many . . . key concepts (Gill 1993, 24). Ideas are accepted as part of the global political economy itself, which facilitates recognition of the ideology and normative element underpinning a perspective. The production of intersubjective meanings within this theory of hegemony is therefore also undervalued. While Burnhams critique does rightly point to the danger of overstating the role of ideas within neoGramscian perspectives (Bieler 1996), the function of intellectual activity across state/civil society relations and the role of consent as a necessary form of hegemony should not be overlooked. After all, ideologies are anything but arbitrary; they are real historical facts which must be combated and their nature as instruments of domination exposed (Gramsci 1995, 395). The point is therefore not to take the position of Theological Marxists who focus on the law of value and the law of motion of capital as absolute knowledge rather than as hypotheses (Cox 1996c, 176). Rather than upholding a fixed notion of historical materialism, the point is to follow the spirit of Raymond Williams (1977, 34) and remain open to a body of thinking that is active, developing, and unfinished. Therefore, though neo-Gramscian perspectives cannot be separated from historical materialism, they may be distinguished within it (Smith 1996). A different series of criticisms have separately centered on the thesis of globalization and the internationalization of the state proposed by neo-Gramscian perspectives. In particular, Leo Panitch has argued that an account unfolds which is too topdown in its expression of power relations, assuming that globalization is a process that proceeds from the global to the national or the outside-in. The point that globalization is authored by states is thus overlooked by developing the metaphor of a transmission belt from the global to the national within the thesis of the internationalization of the state (Panitch 1994, 2000). It has been added that this is a one-way view of internationalization that respectively overlooks reciprocal interaction between the global and the local; overlooks mutually reinforcing social relations within the global political economy; or ignores class conflict within national social formations (Ling 1996; Baker 1999; Moran 1998). The role of the state, following Panitchs (1994, 74) argument, is still determined by struggles among social forces located within particular social formations, even though social forces may be implicated in transnational structures. Instead, it is argued that neo-Gramscian perspectives fail to identify and engage with these contradictions of capitalism. Yet, these issues are not necessarily beyond the scope of a neo-Gramscian conceptual framework. It will be recalled from the above discussion that the point of departure within such an approach could equally be changing social relations of production within forms of state or world order (Cox 1981, 153 n. 26). Indeed, Coxs focus has been on historical blocs underpinning particular states and how these are connected through the mutual interests of social classes in different countries. Further, following Cox, the national context is the only place where a historical bloc can be founded and where the task of building new historical blocs, as the basis for counterhegemony to change world order, must begin. Alternatively, though Gill

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tends to take a different tack on the application of notions such as historical bloc and supremacy, he is still interested in analyzing attempts to constitutionalize neoliberalism at the domestic, regional, and global levels. As Gill puts it, there is a growing contradiction between the tendency towards the globality and universality of capital in the neoliberal form and the particularity of the legitimation and enforcement of its key exploitative relations by the state. Whereas capital tends towards universality, it cannot operate outside of or beyond the political context, and involves, planning, legitimation, and the use of coercive capacities by the state (1995b, 422). Therefore, the emphasis should not be misunderstood. Like attempts elsewhere to grapple with globalization (Radice 1998, 1999, 2000), there is a focus on transnational networks of production and how national governments have lost much autonomy in policymaking, but also how states are still an integral part of this process. The overall position adopted on the relationship between the global and the national, or between hegemony and historical bloc, may differ from one neoGramscian perspective to the next, but it is usually driven by the purpose and empirical context of the research. Yet, noting the above concerns, the peculiarities of history within specific national historical and cultural contexts should not be overlooked. It is therefore perhaps important to admit the significance of taking a national point of departurefollowing Gramscithat involves focusing on the intertwined relationship between international forces and national relations within state/civil society relations that react both passively and actively to the mediation of global and regional forces (Showstack Sassoon 2001). Further criticisms have also focused on how the hegemony of transnational capital has been overestimated and how the possibility for transformation within world order is thereby diminished by neo-Gramscian perspectives (Drainville 1995). Analysis, notes Andr Drainville, must give way to more active sorties against transnational neoliberalism, and the analysis of concepts of control must beget original concepts of resistance (1994, 125). It is therefore important, as Paul Cammack (1999) has added, to avoid overstating the coherence of neoliberalism and to identify materially grounded opportunities for counterhegemonic action. All too often, a host of questions related to counterhegemonic forms of resistance are left for future research. Hence the importance of focusing on movements of resistance and addressing strategies of structural transformation that may be seen as the formation and basis of counterhegemony (Morton 2002).9 The demonstrations during the Carnival Against Capitalism (London, June 1999), mobilizations against the World Trade Organization (Seattle, November 1999), protests against the International Monetary Fund and World Bank (Washington, April 2000, and Prague, September 2000), and riots during the European Union summit at Nice (December 2000), as well as the G-8 meeting at Genoa (July 2001), would all seemingly further expose the imperative of analyzing globalization as a set of highly contested social relations. Such demonstrations might even precipitate the realization that globalization is class struggle.
9. For further initial attempts to deal with issues of resistance, see Cox (1999) and Gill (2000, 2001). A version of the former is available in Spanish; see Cox (1998).

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The final and most recent criticisms arise from the call for a much needed engagement by neo-Gramscian perspectives with the writings of Gramsci and thus the complex methodological, ontological, epistemological, and contextual issues that embroiled the Italian thinker (Germain and Kenny 1998). This emphasis was presaged in an earlier argument warning that the incorporation of Gramscian insights into international relations and international political economy ran the risk of denuding the borrowed concepts of the theoretical significance in which they cohere (Smith 1994, 147). To commit the latter error could reduce scholars to searching for gems in the Prison Notebooks in order to save international political economy from pervasive economism (Gareau 1993, 301; see also Gareau 1996). To be sure, such criticisms and warnings have rightly drawn attention to the importance of remaining engaged with Gramscis own writings. Germain and Kenny also rightly call for greater sensitivity to the problems of meaning and understanding in the history of ideas when appropriating Gramsci for contemporary application. In such ways, then, the demand to remain (re)engaged with Gramscis thought and practice was a necessary one to make and well overdue. However, once such tasks are undertaken, it is clear that problems do arise with some of the key claims made by Germain and Kenny (Morton 2003c). In particular, they have asked whether the concept of hegemony can sustain explanatory power beyond the national context and thus withstand the way hegemony has been internationalized within a neoGramscian framework (Germain and Kenny 1998, 17). Also, they have claimed that concepts such as hegemony, civil society, and historical bloc were used exclusively in the grounding of national social formations by Gramsci (20). Yet, once the demand to historicize and develop a wider theoretical and practical reading of Gramsci is taken seriously, these claims are revealed to be somewhat hollow. Once again the pivotal issue is the national point of departure. The notion of historical bloc, as argued above, was certainly limited to relations within society involving the development of productive forces, the level of coercion, or relations between political parties that constitute hegemonic systems within the state. Yet constant references were made by Gramsci to hegemony based on relations between international forcesinvolving the requisites of great powers, sovereignty and independence that constitute the combinations of states in hegemonic systems (Gramsci 1971, 176). Indeed, within Gramscis national point of departure there was a constant and dialectical juxtaposition between the national and international realms. [T]he internal relations of any nation are the result of a combination which is original and (in a certain sense) unique: these relations must be understood and conceived in their originality and uniqueness if one wishes to dominate them and direct them. To be sure, the line of development is towards internationalism, but the point of departure is nationaland it is from this point of departure that one must begin. Yet the perspective is international and cannot be otherwise. (Ibid.: 240) Moreover, Gramsci himself discussed features of world hegemony and made reference to the hegemony of the United States and American global hegemony

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while also discussing identity movements, voluntary associations, and international public and private organizations that had an international character while maintaining a presence within the national realm (Gramsci 1977, 7982, 8993; 1992, 16770, 291, 3545; 1996, 26971, 282, 31820). Therefore, rather than an unduly narrow and restrictive reading of Gramsci, it is better to appreciate that the point of departure for Gramsci was national which involved a focus on how social forces within this realm were intertwined and shaped by the dialectic of global and local social forces (Murphy 1998b; Rupert 1998). After all, Gramsci commented on the dynamic of hegemony and treated both the Renaissance state system and politics within the twentieth-century within the same framework and with the same concepts (Augelli and Murphy 1993, 127).

Conclusion
To summarize, this argument has pursued a critical theory route to hegemony that provides a distinctive alternative to mainstream international relations theory as well as so-called structural Marxism that has little practical applicability to concrete problems. Notably, a case was made for a critical theory of hegemony that directs attention to relations between social interests in the struggle for consensual leadership rather than concentrating solely on state dominance, by demonstrating how various neo-Gramscian perspectives have developed a particular historical materialist focus on and critique of capitalism. As a result, it was argued that the conceptual framework developed by such neoGramscian perspectives rethinks prevalent ontological assumptions in international relations due to a theory of hegemony that focuses on social forces engendered by changes in the social relations of production, forms of state and world order. It was highlighted how this route to hegemony opens up questions about the social processes that create and transform different forms of state. Attention is thus drawn towards the raison dtat or the basis of state power, including the social basis of hegemony or the configuration of social forces upon which power rests across the terrain of state/civil society relations. With an appreciation of how ideas, institutions, and material capabilities interact in the construction and contestation of hegemony, it was also possible to pay attention to issues of intersubjectivity. Therefore, a critical theory of hegemony was developed that was not equated with dominance and thus went beyond a theory of the state-as-force. Finally, by recognizing the different social purpose behind a critical theory committed to historical change, this route to hegemony poses an epistemological challenge to knowledge claims associated with positivist social science. In a separate section, the thesis of the internationalization of the state and the internationalization of production was outlined within which, it was argued, the forms of world hegemony were altered in a period of structural change in the emerging global political economy of the 1970s. Subsequently, a series of criticisms was also outlined concerning the neo-Gramscian perspectives. Analysis can be pushed into further theoretical and empirical areas by addressing some of these criticisms. For example, in terms of further research directions, benefit could be

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gained by directly considering the role of organized labor in contesting the latest agenda of neoliberal globalization (Bieler 2003).10 It is also important to problematize the tactics and strategies of resistances to neoliberalism by giving further thought to autonomous forms of peasant mobilization in Latin America, such as the Movimento (dos Trabalhadores Rurais) Sem Terra (MST: Movement of Landless Rural Workers) in Brazil and the Ejrcito Zapatista de Liberacin Nacional (EZLN: Zapatista Army of National Liberation) in Chiapas, Mexico (Morton 2002). At a more explicitly theoretical level, additional work could also be conducted in revealing Gramscis theory of the state and then situating this within a wider discussion of state theory (Bieler and Morton 2003). The overall theoretical and political consequences of such research can be ascertained from two angles. First, there is a rejection of objectivist or empiricist claims to value-free social enquiry dominant throughout the academy. This means that, however controversial it may be, there is an emancipatory basis to research. Second, linked to the rejection of such empiricist and positivist knowledge claims, greater emphasis is also accorded the principle of theoretical reflexivity. This entails reflection on the process of theorizing itself and includes three traits: selfawareness, as much as possible, about underlying premises; recognition of the inherently politico-normative dimension of analysis; and an affirmation that judgments about the merits of contending perspectives can be made in the absence of objective criteria (Neufeld 1995, 401). The advantage of theoretical reflexivity is that an opportunity is left to explain the emergence and social purpose of a particular perspective and ones own political position. However, though theory is itself a form of political practice, it is not sufficienthence the importance of instilling a greater degree of invigorated social engagement within and beyond the practice of theory to encompass the realm of everyday life. What ultimately matters, then, is the way in which Gramscis legacy gets interpreted, transmitted and used so that it [can] remain an effective tool not only for the critical analysis of hegemony but also for the development of an alternative politics and culture (Buttigieg 1986, 15).

Acknowledgements
I would like to thank Andreas Bieler, Joseph Buttigieg, David Ruccio, and the anonymous reviewers for reading and commenting on previous versions of this paper. The financial support of an Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) Postdoctoral Fellowship is also acknowledged (Ref.: T026271041).

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