Eastern Highlands Travel on marks the importance of translation for issues of political organization. Apart from being a communist leader and intellectual, Gramsci was a trained linguist, and many of his most important political concepts, such as hegemony, bear the traces of this training (Ives 2004; Lo Piparo 1979)- Issues of translation and translatabil-ity, between natural, national, and scientific and philosophical languages, figure prominently in the Prison Notebooks (Boothman 2004). Thie reference to Lenin opens a section titled Translation of Scientific and Philosophical Languages in Gramsci’s most philosophical notebook (Notebook Eleven), written in late 1932- The political concept of translation evoked by his memory of Lenin’s speech becomes the key to a sophisticated engagement with the constitution of theoretical concepts and their pretense to have universal validity. Gramsci writes: Every truth, even if it is universal, and even if it can be expressed by a mathematical formula of an abstract land (for the tribe of the theoreticians), owes its effectiveness to its being expressed in the language appropriate to specific concrete situations. If it cannot be expressed in such specific terms, it is a Byzantine and scholastic abstraction, good only for phrase-mongers to toy with (Gramsci 1971,201). This moment of clash between concepts and the materiality of specific concrete situations requires translation and a theory of translatability that goes way beyond a merely linguistic approach to this problem. For Gramsci, translation is above all a social praxis, involving a land of labor that works through linguistic borders but is never exhausted by this task. Eastern Highlands Travel 2016.
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