Reading Antonio Gramsci as a Methodologist
In this paper the author connects conceptual and methodological development, typically presented as distinct processes. She argues that these processes are—or should be—underpinned by a common philosophical and theoretical stance. Using Gramsci’s The Prison Notebooks (1971), usually considered for its theory of social relations, the author outlines the work’s epistemological tenets. She then discusses the methodological ramifications of Gramsci’s perspective, relating his ideas to contemporary scholarship, especially by those working from feminist, critical race theory, and other critical perspectives. Because social theory and research methodology tend to be discussed as separate spheres and Gramsci’s work generally is taken up for its social theory, much of the methodological work reviewed here is not identified as Gramscian. Nonetheless, Gramsci’s ideas can have currency especially for qualitative researchers. An important message to take from The Prison Notebooks is to consider epistemology, theory, and methodology together rather than sequentially.