however, those “who had acted as a check on the realism of
the people began to act as its stimulators” (45). The clerks’
participation in the game of political passions signifies their
treason, which results in political turmoil and social upheaval.
Benda grieves at this treason, for it indicates the loss of
morality, conscience, and universal values.
In contrast to Benda, Antonio Gramsci would accentuate
the intellectual’s participation in social activities. Gramsci
distinguishes between two groups of intellectuals: the
traditional and the organic. Traditional intellectuals include
professionals in such spheres as the religious, literary, scientific,
etc., whose position “derives ultimately from past and present
class relations and conceals an attachment to various historical
class formations” (Gramsci, 1971: 3). Organic intellectuals, on
the other hand, form a new type of intelligentsia; they act as
“the thinking and organising element of a particular
fundamental social class,” characterized “less by their
profession . . . than by their function in directing the ideas and
aspirations of the class to which they organically belong” (3).
For Gramsci, “[a]ll men are intellectuals” (9), in the sense that
they have and use their intellect; but only those who
participate in social activities and class struggles perform the
intellectual function. Gramsci makes it clear: “The mode of
being of the new intellectual can no longer consist in
eloquence . . . but in active participation in practical life, as
constructor, organiser, ‘permanent persuader’ and not just a
simple orator” (10). Unlike Benda’s transcendental clerks,
Gramsci’s intellectuals are motivated by political passions and
devoted to the struggle of social forces
and hence are
essential to the workings of modern society.
Michel Foucault also differentiates between two
categories of intellectuals: the universal and the specific.
Dominant in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the
universal intellectual acted as “the spokesman of the universal”