Workerism’s Inimical Incursions: On Mario Tronti’s Weberianism

in Historical Materialism
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Abstract

This article considers the engagement of Mario Tronti - one of the leading figures of classical Italian workerism [operaismo] - with the thought of Max Weber. Weber constituted one of Tronti’s most important cattivi maestri. By analysing Weber’s influence upon Tronti’s development, this article aims to show the ways in which this encounter affected his Marxism and political theory in general. In particular, during the period of the debate in Italian Marxism about the thesis of the autonomy of the political, Tronti increasingly adopted Weberian terminology and theoretical points of reference. Ultimately, the article argues that Tronti’s heretical method led him to incorporate and to re-propose theoretical and political problematics that are characteristic of bourgeois political theory: namely, the dyad administration/charisma, and a teleological and anthropological approach to history. Focusing upon this heterodox encounter therefore enables us to understand one of the trajectories of the transformation of Marxism that occurred during its recurrent rendezvous with the ‘Marx of the bourgeoisie’.

Historical Materialism

Research in Critical Marxist Theory

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