Theses Doctoral

Transformative Hegemony: Theorizing Subaltern Coalitions Through Antonio Gramsci and W.E.B. Du Bois.

Battaglini, Charles

This dissertation brings the works of Antonio Gramsci and W.E.B. Du Bois in conversation with each other to theorize transformative hegemony as a project aiming to overcome racial capitalism despite the backlashes and resilience of this social order. The dissertation argues that racial capitalism is sustained by a strategy that divides the subalterns, the non-ruling classes, through coercion and co-optation in a way that perpetuates cycles of crises and violence. The project of transformative hegemony aims to overcome this by forming a broad passionate coalition of the subalterns around a new worldview that can offer a genuine answer to the contradiction of this socio-economic system.

To form such a coalition despite the pervasive division amongst the subalterns, Gramsci and Du Bois present a strategy of war of position that is meant to empower the subalterns and destabilize the ruling coalition. They compare this strategy to a form of trench warfare because it prepares the subalterns for a long-term struggle, requires mobilizing a broad coalition from different groups with diverse needs, interests, and grievances, and creates trenches to foster transformation in different spheres of society. The dissertation develops Gramsci and Du Bois’s insight into the role of culture, leadership, science, and the organization of movements as trenches of transformation meant to empower the subalterns and destabilize the ruling coalition to bring about a transformative hegemony.


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Political Science
Thesis Advisors
Cohen, Jean Louise
Mantena, Karuna
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
June 26, 2024