… to Gramsci, Machiavelli is the figure who embodies the unity of thought and action, knowledge and people. It is precisely this synthesis between politics and philosophy, I will argue, that characterises the Gramscian conception of the political as the activity that transcends the given reality – the divorce between alta cultura and cultura popolare, the people as the volgo who ‘do not know’ and the educated rulers ‘who know’ – and transforms this given into a new and superior reality. This conception of the political as the unity of knowledge and people, which in their mutual interaction creates a conscious and free subject that will move from the particular to the universal, is precisely what characterises the notion of hegemony as a conception of the world that has become the life and activity of the people.

Benedetto Fontana, Hegemony & Power: On the Relation between Gramsci and Machiavelli p11

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