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.

The Limits of Sociological Marxism?

in Historical Materialism

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References

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1

. See Özuğurlu 2011.

3

. Tuğal 2009p. 24.

4

. Tuğal 2007pp. 20 23.

5

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

6

. Tuğal 2007p. 34.

7

. Tuğal 2009p. 33.

8

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

9

. Tuğal 2009p. 262.

10

. Tuğal 2009p. 24.

11

. Burawoy 2003pp. 199–200.

12

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

13

. Wright 2005pp. 5 30.

14

. Burawoy and Wright 2001.

15

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

17

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

18

. See Tuğal 2009pp. 12–13.

19

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

20

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

21

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

23

. Burawoy 2003pp. 213 214.

24

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

26

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

27

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

28

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

29

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

30

. van der Pijl 1998p. 79.

31

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

32

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

33

. Gramsci 2007p. 75: Q6§88 (1930–2).

34

. Tuğal 2009p. 24.

35

. Tuğal 2009p. 25.

36

. Tuğal 2009p. 270 n. 15.

37

. Tuğal 2009p. 263.

40

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

41

. Burawoy 2003p. 201.

42

. Burns 2011app. 13–26.

43

. Burns 2011ap. 16.

44

. Burns 2011bp. 317.

45

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

46

. Buttigieg 2005pp. 36–7.

47

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

48

. Tuğal 2009p. 27.

49

. Löwy 1996.

50

. Weber 2009pp. 82–3.

51

. Keyder 2004p. 65.

52

. Göker 2010.

53

. Wood 1995pp. 31–6.

54

. Marcuse 1968pp. 210 215.

55

. Williams 1980p. 36

56

. But see Morton 2010.

57

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

58

. Gramsci 1977p. 69.

59

. Gramsci 2007p. 9: Q6§10 (1930–2).

60

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

61

. Buci-Glucksmann 1980p. 315.

62

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

63

. See Riley and Desai 2007.

64

. Tuğal 2009p. 32.

65

. Tuğal 2009p. 32.

66

. Tuğal 2009pp. 8 36 222 230 232.

67

. Tuğal 2009p. 272 n. 1.

69

. Yalman 2002.

70

. Tuğal 2009p. 40.

71

. Tuğal 2009p. 40.

72

. İnsel 2011.

73

. Yalman 2002p. 33.

74

. See Yalman 2009.

75

. Tuğal 2009p. 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 2009p. 255.

77

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

78

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

79

. Gramsci 1971p. 132: Q13§1 (1932–4).

80

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

81

. Gramsci 1971p. 243: Q13§7 (1932–4).

82

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

83

. Jessop 2008p. 113.

84

. See Morton 2007pp. 87–94.

85

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

86

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

87

. Portelli 1973p. 30.

88

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

89

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

90

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

91

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

92

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

94

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

95

. Hall 1980p. 182.

98

. Tuğal 2008p. 66.

99

. Lefebvre 2009pp. 243–4.

100

. Tuğal 2009p. 30.

101

. Tuğal 2009p. 119.

102

. Tuğal 2009p. 208.

103

. Bekmen 2011.

104

. Tuğal 2009p. 272 n. 29.

106

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

107

. Said 2001p. 464.

108

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

109

. Gramsci 1996 p. 53: Q3§49 (1930).

110

. Harvey 2007p. 235.

111

. See Lefebvre 1991.

112

. Gramsci 1971 p. 109: Q15§11 (1933).

113

. Green and Ives 2011pp. 282–3.

114

. See Wright 2010 and Ruccio 2011.

115

. Gramsci 1971p. 160: Q13§18.

116

. Foucault 1980pp. 53–4.

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