Gramsci Final Exam 1. Gramsci’s concept of critical understanding states that all men are philosophers, and that the inherent common sense that the average individual has is not critical and coherent but disjointed and episodic. Political education can transform this common sense into critical understanding. Individuals of the subordinate class look to organic individuals within their own class for leadership in order to be able to construct oppositional conceptions of life that would become popular and hegemonic. Critical understanding is dependent on three mutually supportive conditions. One being free spaces, where workers and organic individuals come together, serving as a reference group, to create an autonomous culture which is dedicated to challenging capitalist, political, and ideological rule. The second condition is that there must be organic individuals committed to help form alternative perspectives which challenge the status quo, working to educate the subaltern class.
Lastly, there must be plausibility which sustains these alternative perspectives. These organic individuals take the collective framework of the subaltern class and present it in a way that helps provide some realization of what is already understood about the world, and their economic exploitation. The concept of critical understanding is similar to the quest dimension of individual in a few distinct ways. One way is that there is a questioning quality in both in which there is a willingness to seek change. The leadership of organic individuals make it possible for members of the subaltern class to change their religious worldviews.
The quest dimension is commited to questioning existing social systems and institutions to pave the way for social change through an open- ended dialogue. Critical understanding looks to challenge the existing social realities and the hierarchy of the dominant group in this way. Secondly, the quest dimension is commited to abstract moral prinsiples and a higher social well-being. This is similar to critical understanding in that there is a struggle for economic and social justice from a disjuncture between the ideal and what is real. Lastly, the quest dimension combines both an open ended skepticism with a higher commitment to social well-being to make a stand on behalf of the oppressed in order to be commited to social and economic justice.
This is similar to critical understanding in that the coersive, ideological, and hegemonic power that the dominant society has over the subaltern class is used as a form of discourse which directs action to creating alternative worldviews for themselves. An individual could use the concept of critical understanding and the quest dimension to develop an oppositional religious perspective that could promote resistance to domination. Discursive resources as a means of transforming dominant beliefs and ideologies can serve as resistence to domination in which subaltern classes and questers take the dominant ideologies, which is possible because of the open-ended dialogue with the comlexity of life’s existential issues, and shape them to combat the dominant group. 2. Religion provideed the miners with the social reference groups and plausibility structures required to develope a critical undertanding of their social and economic situation in a few distinct ways. Providing group resources within the free spaces as a form of plausability.
These group resources included affirmative therapies (designed to halt any doubts in the belief system), rituals (that reiterate their beliefs), and idological legitimation (which confirmed these beliefs). In addition, religion served as a mediating variable in the social conflict of economical power and a catalyst for change, as well as a significant dimension of the politics of class formation. Also, religious leaders took an educative role as organic individuals in the struggle to create alternative worldviews by replacing the dominant worldviews of the hierarical dominant class. Miners rewrote hymns to proclaim their ideas and feelings towards unionization in order to put into words what the community already knew, somewhat like the Objibwa hymn singers. They also sang to help sustain the plausibility of miners’ belief in the efficacy of collective struggle. In addition, the miners’ transformed religiosity gave cohesion and strength to a social class, and permitted the miners to resist the servility and feelings of inferiority that class oppression often breeds in the oppressed. The miners questioned religious orthodoxies that told them they had to adhere to the ideologies of the dominant class, thus using these orthodoxies and using them as discursive resources in order to form their own religious ideologies.
They took discursive assumptions about what their religion told them, shaped their perspective in order to direct their actions to form their own beliefs about their economic situation. These instances are examples of how religious rituals added to the plausibility structure required to develop a critical understanding of their situation. Science.