Journal of Romance Studies

Toward a progressive cosmopolitanism

On Gramsci’s reconstruction of man

Journal of Romance Studies (2019), 19, (1), 99–114.


Although cosmopolitan ideas are currently crucial for interpreting sociopolitical events, they should be considered from a critical perspective. In this article, I will draw on a bio-political reading of Gramsci’s writings in order to circumscribe the notions of ‘regressive’ and ‘progressive’ cosmopolitanism. I will show how the transition between the former, relying on humanistic connotations, and the latter is facilitated in the Prison Notebooks by the phenomenon of Americanism. American industrialism operates in ways that recall Italian ‘Umanesimo’, thus anticipating the rise of a new Renaissance. In view of the escalating growth of the economy and the consequent crisis of national sovereignties, Gramsci grounds the cosmopolitan ‘man’ on innovative forms of territorialization and a negative notion of identity, allowing political subjects to transform themselves and accomplish social change.

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Author details

Mosciatti, Roberto