chapter  11
Towards the ethical State
Pages 9

Every social group which comes into existence on the terrain of the world of economic production (stage 1 of the sequence presented in the previous chapter) creates for itself over long periods of time several strata of intellectuals in the economic, political, social and cultural fields; e.g. capitalists create technicians, political economists, organizers of new culture. These are what Gramsci calls organic intellectuals, since they arise in the course of the development of the fundamental class and correspond to “organic” historical movements. Traditional intellectuals are those still in existence when the new class

emerges whose origins were predicated on the previous social order, but who continue to operate in the society dominated by the new class. For example, ecclesiastics under feudalism monopolized many areas of science, religion and learning, but were structurally bound to the landed aristocracy.1 Because of their traditional status these intel­ lectuals form an autonomous and independent group and Gramsci regards them as of great importance, for example in the Italian case, as being the carriers of idealist philosophy and elaborators of social Utopias. They are particular examples of Gramsci’s famous general proposition that “All men are intellectuals” .2 This argument follows from his Crocean view of the inseparability of the theoretical and the practical: all activities require intellection of qualitatively different kinds and all intellection exists in activity. So for Gramsci, it need hardly be said, intellectuals are not just those professional ones of high culture. Therefore he affirms the democratico-political importance of acknowledging that all men consciously sustain in practice various conceptions (philosophies) of the world even if only implicitly. These are real for them, can be tenaciously resilient to enlightenment and are as Gwyn A. Williams says ongoingly activated and made explicit in practice by “the function of intellect” .3