chapter  10
Analysing the historical bloc
Pages 16

In Gramsci’s social thought the Marxian base of forces and social re­ lations of production remains as the “economic-corporate” or “egoistic-passionaVn moment in analysis and as the foundation of the super­ structure in reality. Within the historical bloc, the level of civil society comprises, as we have seen, a complex of institutions, intellectuals and functionaries, who are the carriers of ideologies, folklore, religion, common sense and philosophy. Of the latter, Gramsci says, “Philo­ sophy in general does not in fact exist. Various philosophies or con­ ceptions of the world exist,” 2 which reflects his insistence that in civil society “All men are intellectuals” in so far as “ there are varying degrees of specific intellectual activity” .3 The real activity of each man in civil society, at whatever level, carries with it a conception of the world, whether of high culture or as a popular belief. The material forces of a social formation and its ideologies mutually presuppose each other, related as content and form:

material forces are the content and ideologies are the form, though this distinction between form and content has purely didactic value, since the material forces would be inconceivable historically without form and the ideologies would be individual fancies without the material forces.4