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).

Strinati describes in An Introduction to Theories of Popular Culture the definition of hegemony is about:
...Dominant groups in society, including fundamentally but not exclusively the ruling class, maintain their dominance by securing the 'spontaneous consent' of subordinate groups, including the working class, through the negotiated construction of a political and ideological consensus which incorporates both dominant and dominated groups (1995: 165).
He then adds:
It can be argued that Gramsci's theory suggests that subordinated groups accept the ideas, values and leadership of the dominant group not because they are physically or mentally induced to do so, nor because they are ideologically indoctrinated, but because they have reason of their own (1995: 166).
Hegemony can be seen as the strategy to hold the control of a society or group of people. In short, hegemony is “the practices of a capitalist class or its representatives to gain state power and maintain it later” (Simon, 1982: 23).

After this post, it will be explained the following:
Concepts of Hegemony
Three Levels of Hegemony

Homby, AS. Oxford Advenced Learner’s Dictionary. Fifth edition. Ed. Jonathan Crowther. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1995.
Rivkin, Julie, and Michael Ryan, ed. Literary Theory: an Anthology. Malden MA: Blackwell Publishing, 2004.
Strinati, Dominic. An Introduction to Theories of Popular Culture. London: Routledge, 1995.


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