hegemony

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hegemony

(hĭjĕm`ənē, hē–, hĕj`əmō'nē, hĕg`ə–), [Gr.,=leadership], dominance, originally of one Greek city-state over others, the term has been extended to refer to the dominance of one nation over others, and, following GramsciGramsci, Antonio
, 1891–1937, Italian political leader and theoretician. Originally a member of the Socialist party and a cofounder (1919) of the left-wing paper L'Ordine Nuovo, Gramsci helped to establish (1921) the Italian Communist party.
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, of one class over others. Conflict over hegemony fills history from the war between Athens and Sparta to the Napoleonic wars, World Wars I and II, and the Cold War. Gramsci's use of the concept extends it beyond international relations to class structure and even to culture.

Bibliography

See K. J. Holsti, The Dividing Discipline (1985).

hegemony

  1. the power exercised by one social group over another.
  2. the ideological/cultural domination of one class by another, achieved by ‘engineering consensus’ through controlling the content of cultural forms and major institutions.
In sense 2 , the term is derived from the work of GRAMSCI (1971), an Italian Marxist jailed by the fascists in the 1920s. He used the term to criticize the narrowness of approaches which focused only on the repressive potential of the capitalist state. Gramsci argued that the domination of ideas in the major institutions of capitalist society, including the Roman Catholic Church, the legal system, the education system, the mass communications media, etc, promoted the acceptance of ideas and beliefs which benefited the RULING CLASS. Gramsci compared civil society to a powerful system of ‘fortresses and earthworks’ standing behind the state. As a result, the problem of cultural hegemony was crucial to understanding the survival of capitalism. Gramsci concluded that before winning power the working class would have to undermine the hegemony of the ruling class by developing its own alternative hegemony. As well as exercising leadership, this required a cultural and ideological struggle in order to create a new socialist ‘common sense’, and thus change the way people think and behave. It followed, therefore, that a subordinate and oppressed class, in addition to organizing to resist physical coercion and repression, had to develop a systematic refutation of ruling ideas. In this sense, of political and theoretical struggle, the idea of hegemony, and often the term itself, was already established and in common use, for example in the Russian Marxist movements (see Anderson, 1977).

Where Gramsci most influenced later work was in shifting the emphasis from ‘counter-hegemony’ as a political necessity for subordinated groups, to hegemony as a factor in stabilizing an existing power structure. In a general sense, there is nothing new in this for sociologists. Weber, for example, writing more than a decade before Gramsci, had emphasized that the crude exercise of force was too unstable a method of guaranteeing the continuance of a system. A stable power system also needed a socially accepted principle of legitimation (see LEGITIMATE AUTHORITY). What distinguished Gramsci's contribution, and has influenced sociology in the last two decades, is the encouragement to investigate the ways in which specific institutions operated in the social reproduction of power relations and to examine wider theoretical issues in understanding belief structures, IDEOLOGY, etc. In the UK, the work of the Birmingham University Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies (CCCS) (see CULTURAL STUDIES) was one important influence in the analysis and use of the concept. In recent years, there have been many studies which have used it in relation to issues such as working-class youth subcultures, the production of television news, and the development of state education.

hegemony

ascendancy or domination of one power or state within a league, confederation, etc., or of one social class over others
References in periodicals archive ?
If both conservative and liberal hegemonists ground their explanation in US primacy, and if both offer diverging views on the incentives facing preponderant states under conditions of unipolarity, what determines which international logic will actually be perceived?
A set of normative and causal beliefs broadly held by the dominant policy coalition in the Bush administration--generally identified as a resurgent neoconservatism--determines how it will respond to the respective international logics highlighted by liberal and conservative hegemonists.
Truth is what the bourgeois hegemonists preach; any left-wing academic worth his salt rejects "truth" in favor of "'truth,'" its epistemologically challenged but politically adaptable cousin.
On the other side, space racers accept that sanctuary is desirable, but argue that weaponization is inevitable and so the US sh ould lead the way; space controllers believe there will be great military benefits from space weaponization and support US advancements in this area when feasible; and space hegemonists argue that space is the 'ultimate high ground' that should be controlled by the US with access denied to enemies (Mueller 2002).
Indeed, they have been largely illusory, for even under the most virulent hegemonists dissident cells have survived, their devotion carried out under cover, their presence a subversive challenge to claims of religious purity or unanimity.
You pilot a gun-toting flivver against a mess of bad guys and can pluck weapons from the flaming wreckage of your defeated foes and generally fly into the face of doom, all in the name of saving the moon city of Selene from those nasty Earthside hegemonists.
In early 1979, a dozen or so North Carolina Klansmen donned their mildewed robes and lit a few crosses, drawing more reporters than white hegemonists but getting the publicity they sought.
70) The Soviets were long seen as global hegemonists who sought to surround and isolate China with client allies.
Take for instance the New America Foundation's Michael Lind, who in The American Way of Strategy triangulates a path for his own "liberal realism" between the twin follies of the neoconservative hegemonists of today and the "anachronistic" isolationism of yore.