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From social bloc to historical bloc: Politics, social relations and ideology in political economy
     Release time: 2024-01-31
  The way that the economy, politics and ideology interact to maintain stability or bring about change is a central concern for political economy. The social bloc perspective, as elaborated by Amable and Palombarini, provides a promising framework with which to address this question due to its attempt to combine an emphasis on the economic structure with a more central role for politics and ideology. This article argues, however, that the social bloc perspective still retains a rather functional understanding of these two concepts. We contend that a neo-Gramscian approach focusing on hegemonic struggles and adopting a complex conceptualisation of class can overcome these functionalist tendencies, because it perceives politics and ideology as crucial factors in the formation of social groups and the emergence and actions of social blocs. We further claim that a neo-Gramscian approach has broader applicability. To ground our claims empirically, we analyse a case which cannot be accounted for by the social bloc perspective. This is a case in which two social blocs composing different social groups with rivalling worldviews shared some meaningful ideological beliefs and cooperated politically to realise them.
  From: Capital & Class 2023 47 (3)
  Editor: Wang Yi
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