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Intellectuals and Politics: From Marx to Berlinguer

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The paper focuses on the conflict between the need of intellectuals to be free and the need of political authorities to control. After a brief historical overview of such conflict, it is argued that intellectuals become involved in politics when either their autonomy or crucial human values are threatened. Marxian theory, however, from Marx to Italian Marxism has insisted consistently on the fusion of theory and practice, yet it has exerted a power of attraction on intellectuals only when it has articulated and defended the autonomous role of intellectuals and cultural workers within the context of a radical transformation of society. Italian Marxism, particularly, has attempted to harmonize the need of intellectuals for autonomy and the the need of political authorities to use their work for a progressive transformation of industrial societies. Scientific intellectuals are now viewed as the new agents of social transformation and the renewal of the political and cultural institutions of Western societies.


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