I need something or two short, pithy and on-point to frame my talk, perhaps even to pass out to participants. To both validate and complicate the idea that the blog medium can participate in the assembly of networks of Gramscian praxis, consider this from the Prison Notebooks, Q 24 (also in Selections from Cultural Writings):
The unitary … elaboration of a homogeneous collective consciousness demands a wide range of conditions and initiatives. … A very common error is that of thinking that every social stratum elaborates its consciousness and its culture in the same way, with the same methods, namely the methods of the professional intellectuals. … It is childish to think that a ‘clear concept’, suitably circulated, is inserted in various consciousnesses with the same ‘organizing’ effects of diffused clarity: this is an ‘enlightenment’ error. … When a ray of light passes through different prisms it is refracted differently: if you want the same refraction, you need to make a whole series of rectifications of each prism.
It may be that the goal of a homogeneous collective consciousness is itself an ‘enlightenment’ error; in view of the revolutionary terrors of the last century, a dangerous one. The balancer here is Gramsci’s understanding of the diversity of consciousness, culture and methods that must be honored with “a wide range of conditions and initiatives” rather than bulldozed with domineering dogmatic intellectualism. This is the preparatory work of the ‘war of position’ for hearts and minds among the ‘forts and pillboxes of civil society’ that must precede the more classically revolutionary ‘war of maneuver’.
Thinking then in terms of war of position, Gramsci encourages us away from a singular magic bullet approach and toward a plural strategy of initiatives and methods responsive to diverse conditions. Oppositional consciousness is not an existing thing but, as John Law says in explaining ANT, the contingent product of network-ordering relationships among objects, “better seen as a verb — a somewhat uncertain process of overcoming resistance — rather than as the fait accompli of a noun.”
There are ways in which the blog medium, which in itself encompasses “a wide range of conditions and initiatives,” is well-suited to the work of resistance-overcoming network construction, if not the construction of homogeneous collective consciousness. And there are ways it’s not. But that’s for a following post. Any thoughts?