Las Torres de Lucca. International Journal of Political Philosophy, Vol 6, No 11 (2017)

Common Sense in Gramsci’s State Theory. Reflections upon the South American Future

Luciano Nosetto


Confronted with the recent changes in South American politics, this article aims at providing a critical reflection upon the relation between state and common sense. To this effect the work of Antonio Gramsci gains particular relevance. In fact, the intellectual and moral reform promoted by Gramsci supposes the critic of common sense. This critic consists not of a massive refusal, but of a dialectical work, aimed at overcoming the tensions inherent to the phenomenon. This article identifies these tensions with three distinguishable but nonetheless articulated problems: the disarrangement of theory and practice, the dissociation of the high and the low, and the confusion of the old and the new. This analytical approach to the Gramscian conception of common sense allows to clarify the task of an intellectual and moral reform aimed at providing the ethical foundation of the state. On this basis, the article ends with some reflections on the use of the notions of "populism" and of the "national-popular" in current South American public debate.