Beyond Right and Left

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Democratic Elitism in Mosca and Gramsci

Maurice A . Finocchiaro

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Two Italian writers, Gaetano Mosca and Antonio Gramsci, have been very influential in twentieth-century political thought, the first cast as a thoroughgoing conservative, the second as the model of a humanistic Marxist. The author of this provocative book—the first systematic study of the connection between the two men—maintains that they are closer to each other than is commonly supposed—that they in fact belong to the same political tradition of democratic elitism.

Maurice A. Finocchiaro argues that Gramsci’s political theory is a constructive critique of Mosca’s and that the key common element is the attempt to combine democracy and elitism in a theoretical system that defines them not as opposite but as compatible and interdependent. Finocchiaro finds that a critical examination of the major works of the two men demonstrates their shared belief in the viability of democratic elitism and undermines the importance of the distinction between right and left.

Maurice Finocchiaro is Distinguished Professor of Philosophy at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

"Beyond Right and Left . . . offers a useful corrective to the reigning view that Mosca and Gramsci occupy opposite positions on the political spectrum. Suitable for undergraduates and above."—Choice


“A persuasive account of the origins of a realist political theory of democracy that rested equally on contributions by Gaetano Mosca and Antonio Gramsci, men whose political interests were in most respects opposed but for whom the problem of the inequality between rules and ruled was of crucial importance.”—Robert Nye, Oregon State University

“Finocchiaro’s central claims are staggeringly original, and he defends them with audacity and brilliance.”—Joseph Femia, author of Gramsci’s Political Thought

ISBN: 9780300075359
Publication Date: March 11, 1999
314 pages, 6 1/8 x 9 1/4
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