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8. On the Qualities of Intellectuals: Antonio Gramsci, Edward Said, and Betty Friedan

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Chapter Summary

This chapter focuses on a few selected writings of three twentieth-century thinkers. They are Antonio Gramsci, Edward W. Said, and Betty Friedan, all of whom were leading theorists of the political movements of which they were a part. Gramsci was a communist who considered it his responsibility not only to advance the cause of the world Communist movement, but also to develop and apply a critical methodology built primarily on Marxist foundations. Edward Said brought singular acumen and learning to the task of giving a voice to Palestinians who suffered the consequences of a historical injustice that remains, to this day, uncorrected. Betty Friedan was a militant feminist. After a few brief considerations on the question of political engagement, the chapter offers some commentary on how these three figures developed their arguments while, at the same time, remaining within a methodological framework that is compatible with intellectual work.

Keywords: Antonio Gramsci; Betty Friedan; communist movement; Edward Said; militant feminist; Palestinians



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