Derek Boothman


This is an English translation of the Gramsci Dictionary contribution “Translatability”. The entry outlines how Gramsci approaches the question of the extent to which natural languages as expressions of national cultures are translatable. In the Notebooks he starts from and elaborated on Marx’s position in the Holy Family, namely that specific discourses (e. g. French political literature and German classical philosophy to which Gramsci adds English classical political economy) that characterize the national culture of each of these peoples – all having, it should be noted, a similar degree of social development – reflect their social base. From the historical point of view, then, Gramsci maintains, their civilizations and the specific discourses that arise within them are mutually translatable.

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