Year 2017, Volume 16, Issue 2, Pages 438 - 451 2017-04-27

War, Propaganda and the Intellectual: A Gramscian Approach to Bernard Shaw’s “Common Sense About the War” (1914)
Savaş, Propaganda ve Aydın: Bernard Shaw’un “Savaş Hakkında Ortak Akıl”’ına Gramscici Bir Yaklaşım

Atalay Gündüz [1]

436 584

This essay aims to read Shaw’s “Common Sense About the War” (1914) within the context of the British and German intellectual’s public declarations on the war. Both British and German governments demanded their intellectuals to defend their war to the public and to the world. Declarations made by significant figures of both nations affirm the narrative told by the political body. This is a Gramscian reading which takes Gramsci’s observation on the role of intellectuals: “intellectuals play a major role in the struggle for hegemony”. Shaw’s “Common Sense About the War” was just that act “in the struggle for hegemony.” Challenging the “common sense” views of his times, Shaw attempted to urge the public to be more critical and questioning about their patriotic and ethnocentric positions on most vital issues such as war. In Gramscian terms, he invites the public to use “good sense” rather than the taken for granted “common sense”. Shaw uses the phrase “common sense” in his title to invite the public to “common sense” leaving aside their romantic, idealised views on the war and its causes. Despite their ideological differences, British public figures such as Kipling, Bennett, Wells, Christabel Pankhurst and Doyle among others seemed all to be united at that time of war under the banner of patriotism. Shaw’s text in this sense contests the hegemonic discourse of the time.

Keywords: “Common Sense About the War”, Bernard Shaw, First World War, Propaganda, Gramsci

Bu makale Shaw’un “Savaş Hakkında Ortak Akıl” (1914) başlıklı kitapçığını İngiliz ve Alman entelektüellerinin savaş ile ilgili yayınladıkları bildirilerin ışığında okumayı amaçlamaktadır. Hen İngiliz hem de Alman hükümetleri daha savaşın başlangıcında aydınlardan başlattıkları savaşı savunacak bildiriler yayınlamaları talebinde bulundu. Her iki ülkenin de önde gelen yazarları, sanatçıları ve bilimcileri tarafından yayımlanan bu bildirilerin hemen hepsi siyasi yapının anlatısını doğrular ve destekler ve onunla uyumlu nitelikteydi. Bu makale Gramsci’nin entelektüeller üzerine gözlemlerini başlangıç noktası olarak kabul eden Gramscici bir okumadır. Gramsci entelektüellerin rolü üzerine şöyle bir saptamada bulunuyor: “entelektüeller egemenlik mücadelesinde büyük bir rol oynarlar.” Bernard Shaw’un “Savaş Hakkında Ortak Akıl”’ı da işte bu “hegemonya mücadelesinde” böylesine önemli bir rol oynamayı hedefleyen bir metindir. Döneminin “ortak akıl” sayılan fikirlerini sorgulamaya açan Shaw, savaş gibi en hayati bir konuda yurtsever ve etnik merkezli pozisyonları konusunda, halkı çok daha sorgulayıcı ve eleştirel olmaya davet etmektedir. Gramscici bir anlatımla Shaw halkı pek sorgulanmadan kabul edilen “ortak akıl” (“common sense”) yerine “aklıselim” (“good sense”) kullanmaya davet eder. Shaw “Savaş Hakkında Ortak Akıl” başlıklı eserinde işte bu çok sorgulanmayan ortak akıla müdahele ederek onun sorgulanmasına kapı aralamaya çalışır. İnsanlara savaş ve savaşın başlangıcı hakkındaki romantik, yüceleştirilmiş görüşlerini bir kenara bırakmaları çağrısında bulunur. İdeolojik farklılıklarına rağmen İngiltere’de Kipling, Bennett, Wells, Pankhurst ve Doyle gibi bir çok ünlü siyasetçi, yazar ve aydın yurtseverlik şemsiyesinin altında buluşmuştur. Shaw’un çıkışı bu ortak akla meydan okuyan ve onu tartışmaya açan önemli bir metindir.       

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Subjects Literature
Journal Section English Literature
Authors

Author: Atalay Gündüz
Institution: DOKUZ EYLÜL ÜNİVERSİTESİ
Country: Turkey


APA Gündüz, A . (2017). War, Propaganda and the Intellectual: A Gramscian Approach to Bernard Shaw’s “Common Sense About the War” (1914). Gaziantep University Journal of Social Sciences, 16 (2), 438-451. DOI: 10.21547/jss.292342