Leaderfulness from a Gramscian perspective: Building organic intellectuals within Black lives matter

Eugene Nulman, Ashley Cole

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Contemporary social movements and organizations have increasingly embraced the notion of ‘leaderfulness’. This development has the possibility of affecting the current struggles these movements face as well as the activist landscapes of the future. Due to its distinct contribution to developing an analysis of leadership, this article seeks to position Gramsci’s intellectual work at the heart of understanding the ways in which these contemporary movement organizations are using organizational structures to address social objectives and the implications this has on the movement. Specifically, this article examines the Black Lives Matter Global Network, which openly advocates for leaderfulness, through documentary content analysis and 22 interviews of activists across 18 local chapters. We find that the structures for promoting leaderfulness which Gramsci had advocated for were lacking and, we argue, this was the reason why the development of leaderfulness was limited. This article helps to shed light on the difficulties of social movement momentum and proposes a solution drawn from Gramsci’s work.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)61-83
Number of pages23
JournalCapital and Class
Issue number1
Early online date30 Nov 2022
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2022.


  • Black Lives Matter
  • hegemony
  • ideology
  • intellectuals
  • leaderfulness
  • leadership
  • social movements

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • History
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Economics and Econometrics


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