Encyclopedia of Religion
and Society

William H. Swatos, Jr. Editor

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(1891-1937) Marxist intellectual and a founder of the Italian Communist Party who died in prison during Mussolini's rule. His social theory is found in his Prison Notebooks.

Among the concepts of Gramsci that are useful to the social scientific study of religion are the historical bloc, which refers to the complex set of changing cultural and material forces that characterize a society, and organic intellectuals, who assist an oppressed class in articulating a revolutionary consciousness. These concepts have been used by scholars who study the role of the Roman Catholic Church in supporting efforts toward social change in Latin America.

See also Marxism, Radicalism

Madeleine R. Cousineau


L. A. Gómez de Souza, Classes Populares e Igreja nos Caminhos da História (Petrópolis, Brazil: Vozes, 1982)

O. Maduro, "New Marxist Approaches to the Relative Autonomy of Religion," Sociological Analysis 38(1977):359-367

H. Portelli, Gramsci et le Bloc Historique (Paris: Presses Universitaires de France, 1972).

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