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. <>


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