Christian Political Ethics and Western Marxism

Journal of Religious Ethics 15 (2):173 - 198 (1987)
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Abstract

This article discusses the tradition of Western Marxism - focusing upon key differences between Antonio Gramsci and the Frankfurt School - in an effort to suggest what it is about this tradition that accounts for its widespread appro- priation in contemporary Christian political thought. The work of the Frank- furt School and Gramsci is representative of the shift within Marxism toward a concern with the politics of consciousness, the political-ideological role of intellectuals, the relation of theory and praxis, and the theorization of domina- tion in advanced capitalist societies. These are concerns that serve as a bridge between Western Marxism and the Christian political ethics of such writers as Jose Miguez Bonino, Cornel West, and Charles Davis. Yet there remain impor- tant differences between the Frankfurt School and Davis on the one hand and Miguez Bonino, West, and Gramsci on the other. These differences can be seen in their divergent understandings of the nature and purpose of thought and in their divergent analyses of the relation between the state and civil society.

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