Writing in one of Mussolini’s prisons in the 1930s, the Italian Marxist Antonio Gramsci jotted down the fragments that would become his theory of intellectuals. New classes, like the European bourgeoisie after the Industrial Revolution, he proposed, brought with them their own set of thinkers, which he called “organic intellectuals”—theorists, technicians, and administrators, who became their “functionaries” in a new society. Unlike “traditional intellectuals” who held positions in the old class structure, organic intellectuals helped the bourgeoisie establish its ideas as the invisible, unquestioned conventional wisdom circulating in social institutions.

Daniel Drenzer, Author of the Ideas Industry, is an American professor of international politics at The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, an author, a blogger, and a commentator.


My first encounter with a "thought leader" follower was in undergrad, reading (among others) The Innovator's Dilemma for a J-term seminar. Knowing the controversy surrounding Christensen and having already read the book, I posted the New Yorker article by Lepore (mentioned in the OP) on the class discussion page as a counterpoint. The TA (why you need a TA for an abbreviated section, idfk) lit the comments alive with hyped up acolytic fervor - couldn't help himself.

posted by rene: 344 days ago