Published by Crackers Books, 2 February 2024

Integral State

Integral State: A Concise Overview

  1. Gramsci's Integral State Concept: Gramsci developed the concept of the Integral State to encompass both political society (the state, legal system, and police) and civil society (family, education system, and cultural institutions). This concept emphasizes the interplay between coercive and consensual elements in maintaining the hegemony of the ruling class (Thomas, 2009)(Thomas, 2009).
  2. Totalitarian State vs. Integral State: Gramsci's distinction between the totalitarian state and the integral state is important for understanding different forms of political organization. The integral state, despite its hegemonic control, maintains a level of consent among the governed, unlike a totalitarian state that relies more on overt coercion (Lin, 2022)(Lin, 2022).
  3. State and Civil Society Relation: Gramsci's concept underscores the complex relationships between state and civil society. It posits that civil society is not just the arena of voluntary associations but is also a terrain where hegemony is established and contested (Brand, Görg, & Wissen, 2007)(Brand, Görg, & Wissen, 2007).
  4. Hegemony and State Power: The Integral State concept is crucial for understanding how state power is not only about political or economic control but also involves ideological and cultural leadership, shaping the collective will and consensus (Green, 2011)(Green, 2011).
  5. Application in Contemporary Analysis: The Integral State concept remains relevant in modern political analysis, especially in understanding the role of various institutions in perpetuating the status quo under the guise of maintaining social harmony and order (Humphrys, 2018)(Humphrys, 2018).


The Integral State concept provides a nuanced understanding of state power, emphasizing the complex interplay between coercive state institutions and consensual civil society mechanisms in maintaining social order and hegemony.


  1. Brand, U., Görg, C., & Wissen, M. (2007). Verdichtungen zweiter Ordnung: Die Internationalisierung des Staates aus einer neo-poulantzianischen Perspektive. Link
  2. Green, M. E. (2011). Rethinking the subaltern and the question of censorship in Gramsci's Prison Notebooks. Postcolonial Studies, 14(4), 387-404. Link
  3. Humphrys, E. (2018). Anti-politics, the early Marx and Gramsci’s ‘integral state’. Thesis Eleven, 147, 29-44. Link
  4. Lin, Y. (2022). Gramsci, the Relativity of the Integral State-Society, and the COVID-19 Interregnum. Critical Sociology. [Link]
  5. Thomas, P. (2009). Contra The Passive Revolution. Link

Recommended Citation

Crackers Books. (2024, February 2). Integral State: A Concise Overview [Crackers Basics]. Retrieved from

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