The Limits of Sociological Marxism?

In: Historical Materialism
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Abstract

Within the agenda of historical-materialist theory and practice Sociological Marxism has delivered a compelling perspective on how to explore and link the analysis of civil society, the state, and the economy within an explicit focus on class exploitation, emancipation, and rich ethnography. This article situates a major analysis of state formation, the rise of the Justice and Development Party (AKP), and the growth of a broader Islamist movement in Turkey within the main current of Sociological Marxism. It does so in order to critically examine the rather bold revision of the theory of hegemony at the heart of Cihan Tuğal’s Passive Revolution: Absorbing the Islamic Challenge to Capitalism, which posits the separate interaction of political society, civil society and the state in theorising hegemonic politics in Turkey. My contention is that the revision of hegemony that this analysis offers and its state-theoretical commitments are deeply problematic due to the reliance on what I term ‘ontological exteriority’, meaning the treatment of state, civil society and the economy as always-already separate spheres. The focus of the critique then moves toward highlighting a frustrating lack of direct engagement with Antonio Gramsci’s writings in this disquisition on hegemony and passive revolution, which has important political consequences. While praise for certain aspects of ethnographic and spatial analysis is raised, it is argued that any account of the reordering of hegemony and the restructuring of spatial-temporal contexts of capital accumulation through conditions of passive revolution also needs to draw from a more sophisticated state theory, a direct reading of Gramsci, and broader scalar analysis of spatial relations and uneven development under capitalism.

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  • 1

    . See Özuğurlu 2011.

  • 3

    . Tuğal 2009, p. 24.

  • 4

    . Tuğal 2007, pp. 20, 23.

  • 5

    . Tuğal 2009, pp. 4, 31–2. Note that the Turkish edition carries a slightly different emphasis in its subtitle, see Tuğal 2010.

  • 6

    . Tuğal 2007, p. 34.

  • 7

    . Tuğal 2009, p. 33.

  • 8

    . See Burawoy 2003 and Tuğal 2009, pp. 24–31 and 270, n. 15, emphasis added.

  • 9

    . Tuğal 2009, p. 262.

  • 10

    . Tuğal 2009, p. 24.

  • 11

    . Burawoy 2003, pp. 199–200.

  • 12

    . Burawoy 2003, p. 198; Tuğal 2009, pp. 24–31.

  • 13

    . Wright 2005, pp. 5, 30.

  • 14

    . Burawoy and Wright 2001.

  • 15

    . Burawoy and Wright 2001, p. 462, n. 9.

  • 17

    . Burawoy 1998, pp. 5, 14–16; Burawoy 2005, p. 11; Burawoy 2009, pp. 38–44.

  • 18

    . See Tuğal 2009, pp. 12–13.

  • 19

    . See Bozdoğan and Akcan 2012, pp. 239–42.

  • 20

    . Burawoy 2003, p. 211; Burawoy 2012, p. 192.

  • 21

    . Gramsci 1971, p. 220: Q13§27 (1932–4). It should be noted that I follow a specific convention associated with citing the Prison Notebooks. In addition to giving the reference to the selected anthologies, the notebook number (Q), section (§), and notebook date accompanies all citations, to enable the reader to trace their specific collocation. The concordance table used is that compiled by Marcus Green and is available at the website of the International Gramsci Society, <http://www.internationalgramscisociety.org>.

  • 22

    . Gramsci 1971, p. 243: Q13§7 (1932–4).

  • 23

    . Burawoy 2003, pp. 213, 214.

  • 24

    . Gramsci 2007, p. 213: Q7§83 (1930–2). For more detail on Gramsci’s theorising of political modernity and the origins of capitalism in terms of feudal crisis, agrarian class structures and the rise of specific social property relations, see Morton 2005; Morton 2007, Chapter 3. My Unravelling Gramsci: Hegemony and Passive Revolution in the Global Political Economy has also been translated into Turkish, see Morton 2011b.

  • 25

    . Gramsci 2007, p. 187: Q7§35 (1930–2).

  • 26

    . Gramsci 2007, p. 310: Q8§130 (1931–2).

  • 27

    . See Cox 1981, pp. 135–8; Cox 1983, pp. 162–9.

  • 28

    . van der Pijl 1993, pp. 237–40; van der Pijl 1998, pp. 64–83.

  • 29

    . Gramsci 2007, p. 310: Q8§130 (1931–2).

  • 30

    . van der Pijl 1998, p. 79.

  • 31

    . Gramsci 1971, pp. 119–20: Q10I§9 (1932–5).

  • 32

    . Gramsci 2007, p. 317: Q8§142 (1931–2).

  • 33

    . Gramsci 2007, p. 75: Q6§88 (1930–2).

  • 34

    . Tuğal 2009, p. 24.

  • 35

    . Tuğal 2009, p. 25.

  • 36

    . Tuğal 2009, p. 270, n. 15.

  • 37

    . Tuğal 2009, p. 263.

  • 40

    . The key phrase is from Wood 1986, p. 55, n. 15.

  • 41

    . Burawoy 2003, p. 201.

  • 42

    . Burns 2011a, pp. 13–26.

  • 43

    . Burns 2011a, p. 16.

  • 44

    . Burns 2011b, p. 317.

  • 45

    . Gramsci 1971, p. 450: Q11§28 (1932–3); and see Morton 2007, pp. 15–38.

  • 46

    . Buttigieg 2005, pp. 36–7.

  • 47

    . Gramsci 2007, p. 117: Q6§155 (1930–2).

  • 48

    . Tuğal 2009, p. 27.

  • 49

    . Löwy 1996.

  • 50

    . Weber 2009, pp. 82–3.

  • 51

    . Keyder 2004, p. 65.

  • 52

    . Göker 2010.

  • 53

    . Wood 1995, pp. 31–6.

  • 54

    . Marcuse 1968, pp. 210, 215.

  • 55

    . Williams 1980, p. 36

  • 56

    . But see Morton 2010.

  • 57

    . See Morton 2007, pp. 63–73; Morton 2011a.

  • 58

    . Gramsci 1977, p. 69.

  • 59

    . Gramsci 2007, p. 9: Q6§10 (1930–2).

  • 60

    . Gramsci 1971, p. 115: Q10II§61 (1932–5).

  • 61

    . Buci-Glucksmann 1980, p. 315.

  • 62

    . Gramsci 1971, p. 219: Q13§27 (1932–4).

  • 63

    . See Riley and Desai 2007.

  • 64

    . Tuğal 2009, p. 32.

  • 65

    . Tuğal 2009, p. 32.

  • 66

    . Tuğal 2009, pp. 8, 36, 222, 230, 232.

  • 67

    . Tuğal 2009, p. 272, n. 1.

  • 69

    . Yalman 2002.

  • 70

    . Tuğal 2009, p. 40.

  • 71

    . Tuğal 2009, p. 40.

  • 72

    . İnsel 2011.

  • 73

    . Yalman 2002, p. 33.

  • 74

    . See Yalman 2009.

  • 75

    . Tuğal 2009, p. 235. But see how Tuğal (Tuğal 2011, 2012b) usefully questions whether Egypt’s future pathway out of the Arab Spring might be a restoration along the lines of the ‘Turkish model’ in the form of passive revolutionaries such as Mohamed Morsi narrowing the agenda and demands of the revolution. Similarly, Morton (Morton 2011c) focuses on the Arab ‘revolutions’ that pose anew some venerable questions of revolutionary transformation, not least whether they will result in fundamental changes to economic life in the region or a passive revolutionary restoration of the old political order whereby state machines remain significantly intact, a process continually in development and subject to change and challenge.

  • 76

    . Tuğal 2009, p. 255.

  • 77

    . See Cox 1983, p. 167; Gill 2008, p. 58.

  • 78

    . See Macciocchi 1975, pp. 112–14; Thomas 2009, pp. 133–57.

  • 79

    . Gramsci 1971, p. 132: Q13§1 (1932–4).

  • 80

    . Gramsci 1971, pp. 105–6: Q15§59 (1933).

  • 81

    . Gramsci 1971, p. 243: Q13§7 (1932–4).

  • 82

    . Gramsci 1971, p. 239: Q6§155 (1930–2); see Thomas 2009, pp. 137–41.

  • 83

    . Jessop 2008, p. 113.

  • 84

    . See Morton 2007, pp. 87–94.

  • 85

    . Gramsci 1971, pp. 105–6: Q15§59 (1933).

  • 86

    . See Portelli 1973, p. 33; van der Pijl 1998, pp. 79–83.

  • 87

    . Portelli 1973, p. 30.

  • 88

    . See Morton 2011a, pp. 18–24; and Femia 1981, pp. 35–50.

  • 89

    . Gramsci 1971, p. 80, n. 49: Q19§24 (1934–5).

  • 90

    . Gramsci 1971, p. 80, n. 4: Q19§24 (1934–5).

  • 91

    . Gramsci 1971, p. 59: Q19§24 (1934–5); Gramsci 2007, p. 75: Q6§88 (1930–2).

  • 92

    . Gramsci 2007, p. 252: Q8§25 (1930–2). It should be commented such a draft note in the Prison Notebooks now falls into the common categorisation of an ‘A-text’, to be distinguished from ‘B-texts’ that exist in only one version, or ‘C-texts’ that consist of material derived from previous drafts.

  • 93

    . Gramsci 2007, p. 252: Q8§25 (1931–2).

  • 94

    . Sassoon 1987, p. 207; see also Femia 1981, p. 260, n. 74.

  • 95

    . Hall 1980, p. 182.

  • 98

    . Tuğal 2008, p. 66.

  • 99

    . Lefebvre 2009, pp. 243–4.

  • 100

    . Tuğal 2009, p. 30.

  • 101

    . Tuğal 2009, p. 119.

  • 102

    . Tuğal 2009, p. 208.

  • 103

    . Bekmen 2011.

  • 104

    . Tuğal 2009, p. 272, n. 29.

  • 106

    . Soja 1989, pp. 89–90; see also Jessop 2006.

  • 107

    . Said 2001, p. 464.

  • 108

    . Gramsci 1971, p. 182: Q13§17 (1932–4).

  • 109

    . Gramsci 1996, p. 53: Q3§49 (1930).

  • 110

    . Harvey 2007, p. 235.

  • 111

    . See Lefebvre 1991.

  • 112

    . Gramsci 1971, p. 109: Q15§11 (1933).

  • 113

    . Green and Ives 2011, pp. 282–3.

  • 114

    . See Wright 2010 and Ruccio 2011.

  • 115

    . Gramsci 1971, p. 160: Q13§18.

  • 116

    . Foucault 1980, pp. 53–4.

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