Friday, December 18, 2015 | By: Furqon Abdi

The Three Levels of Hegemony

In the present time, the concept of Hegemony by Gramsci is more developed. It is rarely noticed that Gramsci speaks of three different levels, or types, of hegemony. However, Femia in his book Gramsci’s Political Thought already makes an explanation that hegemony is divided into three types. The first type, the highest level, of hegemony is integral hegemony. He explains that “in paradigm case, which we can call integral hegemony; mass affiliation would approach unqualified commitment” (1981: 46).

The second type of hegemony is called decadent hegemony. It happens when the ruling classes are not fully controlling the ruled classes. Femia explains it:
But in modern capitalist society, Gramsci claims, bourgeois economic dominance, whether or not it faces serious challenge, has become outmoded (no longer is it capable of representing or furthering) everyone's interest. Neither is it capable of commanding unequivocal allegiance from the non-elite: "as soon as the dominant group has exhausted its function, the ideological bloc tends to decay. Thus, the potential for social disintegration is ever-present: conflict lurks just beneath the surface. In spite of the numerous achievements of the system, the needs, inclinations, and mentality of the masses are not truly in harmony with the dominant ideas. Though widespread, cultural and political integration is fragile; such a situation might be called decadent hegemony (1981: 47).
Femia then called the third level of hegemony as the “lowest form of hegemony ... [which is labeled] minimal hegemony” (1981: 47). He adds that “this type of hegemony rests on the ideological unity of the economic, political and intellectual elites along with ‘aversion to any intervention of the popular masses in State life’” (1981: 47).

The lowest level of hegemony is formed because the ruling classes start to lose their domination toward the ruled. In order to maintain their last control, the ruling classes have to give an extra intention to the ruled class. This action will minimize the ruled classes’ protest. Sometimes, the ruling classes have to invite the ruled classes to work together with them or to do something that will make the ruled class believe that the ruling classes are good people and caring to them.

Femia then adds:
The dominant economic groups do not 'accord their interests and aspirations with the interests and aspirations of other classes'. Rather, they maintain their rule through trasformismo, the practice of incorporating the leaders - "cultural, political, social, and economic" - of potentially hostile groups into the elite network, the result being 'the formation of an ever broader ruling class. The inducements used may range from mere flattery to offers of employment in administration to the granting of substantial power in decision-making (1981: 47-48).
It can be concluded that hegemony is the acts of dominant class to control their domination towards the ruled class without using forces. They maintain their domination through economic, education, politic and ideology. The ruling class or the dominant class is divided into two kinds of people. The first one is called the State. The state is people who are in charge in the government. They control the society of ruled class using their power in the government. Their actions are dominated in political aspects of domination. The second ruling class is civil society who maintains their domination using another aspect, especially economic.

The three levels of hegemony are Integral hegemony, decadent hegemony and Minimal hegemony. Integral hegemony can be seen in a society which shows the superpower ruling class rule the other society without having resistance from them. The decadent hegemony shows the hegemony where the ruling class has to give some spaces for the ruled class to do what they want in order to maintain their domination. The third level of hegemony, minimal hegemony, can be seen when the ruling class gets resistance from the ruled class continuously.

Femia, Joseph. Gramsci’s Political thought: Hegemony, Consciousness, and The revolutionary Process. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1981.
Friday, December 11, 2015 | By: Furqon Abdi

Concepts of Hegemony

The concepts of hegemony have been used for a long time now to refer to the idea of existence of dominance by one social group. It was first used by Italian Communist Antonio Gramsci who had been imprisoned by Mussolini up to his death in 1926. He supported this concept with the idea of emergence of new elite which was followed by a change of men's consciousness. He reasoned that a class that is politically dominant is also ideologically dominant meaning that it keeps its position because the dominated class accepts its moral and intellectual leadership (Forms of United States Power and the Concept of Hegemony, 2012: par. 9)

There is a ruling group which acquires a degree of consent from the subordinate group without using force to maintain their domination. The concept of hegemony itself has been used widely in many places to refer to any form of dominance through culture and non-military. In an essay entitled Forms of United States Power and the Concept of Hegemony, the concept of hegemony is described as follows:
The concept of hegemony can be described in many fronts all which refer to the way dominance is created. For example it can be achieved through the use of institutions in a bid to formalize power, the use of bureaucracy which makes others see power as abstract, and in other manners. It can also be achieved through the articulation of hard power over others like the use of military or imposition of economic sanctions (2012: par. 10).
In his theory, Gramsci splits the ruling class into two major levels, “civil society” and “state”. Mastroianni says in his essay that:
The one that can be called ‘civil society,’ that is the ensemble of organisms commonly called ‘private’ and that of ‘political society,’ or ‘the State.’" Civil society includes organizations such as churches, trade unions, and schools, which as Gramsci notes are typically thought of as private or non-political (Mastroianni, 2002: par. 4).
The second level of the ruling class is State. It is said in Selections from the Prison Notebooks of Antonio Gramsci that “state is the entire complex of practical and theoretical activities with which the ruling class not only justifies and maintains its dominance, but manages to win the active consent of those over whom it rules” (1992: 244).

Gramsci, Antonio. Selections from Prison Notebooks. edited and translated by Quintin Hoare & Goffrey Nowell Smith. London: Lawrence and Wishart, 1971.
Forms of US power and the concept of hegemony. Uk Essay: International Essay, 2012. <>

Intrinsic Elements of Prose

Rene Wellek dan Austin Warren, in their Theory of Literature, define intrinsic analysis as “the interpretation and analysis of the works of literature themselves” (1977:139). Just like Poetry, Prose as one of a literature works also has these kinds of elements which are quite different from poems, of course.

The following are some intrinsic elements of prose I have been studied, related to the literature work once I analyze using Antonio Gramsci's Theory of Hegemony:
  • Theme
Theme is the main idea of a story. It must represent the whole part of the story as it is a basic development of a whole story. From reading the whole story, it can be easy to reveal the theme of the novel.
Brown and Olmsted in Language and Literature mentioned that:
The term theme is used in several different ways in literary criticism. Sometimes it means the ‘subject’ of the work, what it is “about”. More often it refers to some central preposition, or set of ideas, which the author presumably had in mind and around which he built his poem or story or play (1962:222).
Friday, December 4, 2015 | By: Furqon Abdi

The Theory of Gramsci's Hegemony

Theory of Hegemony introduced by Antonio Gramsci (1891-1937), an Italian Marxist theoretician and politician.

This post will try to define what is Hegemony cited from some sociology books and writings. In short, Hegemony is domination of one group/people to other groups in a society in some aspects such as economy/social/military which is not using a forced way to obtain it and even the dominated group will obey any instruction/requests from the dominant group without any question the reason to what they have to do.

As noted in Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary, Hegemony is a “control and leadership especially by one country over others within a group; social/economic/military hegemony” (2009: 555). It is stated in Literary Theory: an Anthology edited by Julie Rivkin and Michael Ryan that in hegemony “power can be maintained without force if the consent of the dominated can be obtained through education and through other kinds of cultural labor on the part of such intellectuals as priests and journalists” (2004: 157).

Monday, November 16, 2015 | By: Furqon Abdi

A History of Literary Criticism and Theory: From Plato to the Present

Just like the above title, this book is about the history of literature theory. For you who are studying literature, this is a must-have item on your library. However, if you are not ready to purchase the printout book in case you have no more room for your book. Then, a soft copy (ebook) of the book will just do the trick.

You can download it here.

However, I really recommend you buy the paper-book on amazon or any other book store.