M Antonio Gramsci
One of the most influential figures in the neo-Marxist reassessment of religion is the Italian, Antonio Gramsci. He rejected the traditional Marxist view that the cultural superstructure merely reflected society’s economic base. In his view, the superstructure is more autonomous and independent than Marx acknowledged, and beliefs are no less real or important than economic forces.
For Gramsci, if the communist age were to come, it would require working-class action. But this action must be guided by theoretical ideas. And, just as intellectuals of the Roman Catholic Church had shaped the minds of its followers over centuries, so must the industrial working class produce ...view middle of the document...
Writing about developing countries, Maduro argues that, in societies in which religion remains a dominant and conservative institution, social liberation can only be achieved if significant change occurs within the churches. This could occur if the oppressed, finding that all possible forms of protest are blocked by the central power, take their discontent to the churches- as in certain Latin American societies, in South Africa and in Poland before the abandonment of communism. In this situation, Maduro argues the anguish and aspirations of the oppressed may be reflected and voiced by members of the clergy. Thus, the clergy may then fulfil the functions of Gramsci’s proletarian intellectuals, by expressing the discontents of the oppressed, by shaping their consciousness of the situation, and by working with them to devise (plan) strategies of action.
Marxist views evaluation:
Religion as ideology- Marx saw religion as a form of ideology which helped to maintain ruling class power. Critics agree there is evidence to support this view from certain times and places. However, they reject the claim that this is the primary role of religion.
To some extent, neo-Marxists avoid this criticism by admitting the possibility that religion can open the eyes of the oppressed to the reality of their situation. And this, in turn, can encourage them to take action to end their oppression.
Religion as compensation- Is...