Gramsci: Intellectuals and Education

Gramsci: Intellectuals and Education

June 26, 2021 Off By Felso

Gramsci gave much weight to the question of the role of intellectuals in society.

It is a famous saying that all people are intellectuals, everyone has intellectual and rational abilities, but not everyone can perform the social function of intellectuals. He argued that modern intellectuals are not just speakers, but administrators and organizers who help build society and produce dominance through ideological apparatuses such as education and the media. Furthermore, he distinguished between ‘traditional’ intellectuals, who (wrongly) saw themselves as a class separate from society, and groups of thought that each class produced ‘organically’ from among its ranks.

Such ‘organic’ intellectuals do not only define social life in accordance with scientific rules, but rather voice the emotions and experiences that the masses cannot express themselves through the language of culture. The need to create a working-class culture is related to Gramsci’s call for a kind of education that would develop working-class intellectuals. These intellectuals will not only promote Marxist ideology without the proletariat, but will also renew it by criticizing the current state of intellectual activity that already exists among the masses.

For these purposes, Gramsci’s thoughts on the education system coincide with the critical pedagogy and popular education design that the Brazilian Paulo Freire theorized and worked on in the following decades. For this reason, partisans of adult and public education consider Gramsci an important voice today.