The 80th anniversary of Antonio Gramsci’s death gives the opportunity to confront his idea of civil society to the one of a second Italian thinker, Antonio Rosmini, in order to point out the dialectic structure of the Italian political thinking over civil society. This kind of complex paradigm which consists in the tension between both concepts, receives critically Hegel’s consideration on the challenges of modern liberalism. Beyond Hegel, they both individuate a specific pre-political dynamics of civil society: the battle for hegemony (Gramsci) or the social recognition as rights (Rosmini). While the first idea politicizes civil society as scene of social combat of ideas, the second one describes the emerging of the structures of recognition out of moral relationships between individuals. In this way, Rosmini and Gramsci argue for the embedding of the free market dynamics into the civil society, which though is irreducible to the market. Thus the civil society as authentic place of the Italian political thought emerges through the dialectic opposition of two concepts, which are socialist in the first case and liberal in the second, but both determine the individuation of its political dimension as authentic duty and social responsibility of the intellectuals.
Keywords: Civil society, hegemony, rights, recognition, Gramsci, Rosmini.