Gramsci's Concept Of Critical Understanding Essay

798 words - 3 pages

Gramsci's Concept of Critical Understanding

1. Gramsci's concept of critical understanding states that all

men are philosophers, and that the inherent common sense that

the average individual has is not critical and coherent but

disjointed and episodic. Political education can transform this

common sense into critical understanding. Individuals of the

subordinate class look to organic individuals within their own

class for leadership in order to be able to construct

oppositional conceptions of life that would become popular and

hegemonic. Critical understanding is dependent on three mutually

supportive conditions. One being free spaces, where workers and

organic individuals come together, serving as a reference group,

to create an autonomous culture which is dedicated to

challenging capitalist, political, and ideological rule. The

second condition is that there must be organic individuals

committed to help form alternative perspectives which challenge

the status quo, working to educate the subaltern class. Lastly,

there must be plausibility which sustains these alternative

perspectives. These organic individuals take the collective

framework of the subaltern class and present it in a way that

helps provide some realization of what is already understood

about the world, and their economic exploitation.

The concept of critical understanding is similar to the

quest dimension of individual in a few distinct ways. One way

is that there is a questioning quality in both in which there is

a willingness to seek change. The leadership of organic

individuals make it possible for members of the subaltern class

to change their religious worldviews. The quest dimension is

commited to "questioning existing social systems and

institutions to pave the way for social change" through an open-

ended dialogue. Critical understanding looks to challenge the

existing social realities and the hierarchy of the dominant

group in this way. Secondly, the quest dimension is commited to

abstract moral prinsiples and a higher social well-being. This

is similar to critical understanding in that there is a struggle

for economic and social justice from a disjuncture between the

ideal and what is real. Lastly, the quest dimension combines

both an open ended skepticism with a higher commitment to social

well-being to make a stand on behalf of the oppressed in order

to be commited to social and economic justice. This is similar

to critical understanding in that the coersive, ideological, and

hegemonic power that the dominant society has over the subaltern

class is...

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