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Analysis of “Gramsci’s Relevance to the Study of Race and Ethnicity” by Stuart Hall Essay

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Updated: Mar 5th, 2019

Introduction

Equity basically involves the perceptions of fairness in a broader context involving a number a concepts such as gender equity, equity in the distribution of resources, racial equity and many more. The equity theory is normally based on the principle of fairness. This essay attempts to evaluate the work of Stuart Hall, “Gramsci’s relevance to the study of race and ethnicity”, with a key analysis of its relevance to equity.

Stuart focused on racial equity, and an evaluation of the theoretical frameworks that are applied in social sciences to provide explanations for equity. Stuart is of the opinion that Gramsci did not provide adequate theoretical foundations towards the analysis of social phenomena in the context of equity (411).

Gramsci is more of a political and social activist, rather than a social theorist. His theoretical explanations were primarily based on the fact that he was more involved with his society during his times; his major goal was his intentions to serve, not formulating the social theories for academic reasons, but to put a check on the political practices of his times (Stuart 413).

This therefore implies that Gramsci’s theories can be used to provide explanations in the political context rather than the in explaining the social problems (412). Gramsci concepts were basically a redefined approach to the Marxists theories, within which there were limitations of in the Marxist’s theories. This means that Gramsci was not a Marxist, arguing from the historical point of view.

According to Gramsci, equity in the social context involves the practice of open Marxism, which basically entails the application of the existing human sciences theories and paradigms. Equity is fairly demonstrated if what an individual does is equated to the prospective expectations which the individual is entitled to. Primarily it is a matter of evaluating the levels of satisfaction and the corresponding dissatisfaction (Stuart 417).

According to Stuart (412), Gramsci work cannot be argued to provide sustainable contribution to social work, as of the works of Emile Durkheim. From his essays, it can be noted that Gramsci was a political activist and a creative political journalist. The conceptual approach of Gramsci to social science can be said to be applicable to the concrete and historical specificity.

His work is considered as too analytic and more limited to the time-bound context. This therefore implies Gramsci theories can be applied on only specific historical and political contexts. Gramsci argued, in order for one to have an insight on the social balances that affect equity, one must have an in depth understanding to the structures and objective relations that exist in a given society.

It also requires an insight towards the understanding of the degree or the phase of development of that society under consideration. This views equity from the economist and ideologist perspectives. In both cases, equity is always at the extreme end, it is not practically possible to view equity from both the perspectives, because one always turns out to favor the other.

Gramsci also argues that equity is subjective to social forces in a society. The social forces that come to play in determining equity usually are usually evaluated basing on their tendency to favor or not to favor a particular subject. At the end of it all, it is usually the need to attain social equilibrium that significantly matters (Stuart 423).

Social equilibrium is usually subjective to the historical contexts. Gramsci also views equity from establishing a distinction between the state and the civil society. In order for equity to exist, the state should at least practice moral leadership that is based on educative principles. One such approach is the establishment of political regimes that are democratic.

In conclusion, equity is majorly based on the structures of ideologies, the cultural orientations of the society, the nature of the political systems. Despite the small deviation from the social context, Gramsci succeeds in the demonstration of theoretical approach to equity, the establishments of necessary paradigms to evaluate the social arena, and in particular, the social contexts that are racially structured (Stuart 440).

Work Cited

Hall, Stuart. critical dialogues in cultural studies. New York: Routledge, 1996. Pp 411 440. Print.

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