Translating hegemony: observations on Gramsci, Language and Translation

by Mauro Pala

For Gramsci language plays a major role in developing a theory of social emancipation. Accordingly, language must be analyzed against the backdrop of external determination and in this context national cultures or the expressions of two fundamentally similar civilizations can be mutually translatable. The principle of translatability thus applies to the entire construction of Gramsci’s philosophy of praxis: translation becomes the necessary criterion of mediation between two cultures or world views and constitutes the means for gauging the multiple and ever changing faces of reality. In a certain sense, the practice of translation gives a measure of Gramsci’s project of absolute historicism. Gramsci, Language and Translation, the collection of essays edited by Peter Ives and Rocco Lacorte, sheds light on this Sardinian intellectual’s unique way of approaching language as a political issue and linguistic concepts as a means to analyse culture, seen as an ensemble of pivotal social factors.

Read the article