Notes on Hegemony

By Jason MacLeod on November 13, 2011 — 1 min read

In Gramscian theorizing, hegemonic power is of a different type than that usually associated with pure material dominance, and is linked to ‘intellectual and moral leadership’ via ideology , which has the ‘same energy as a material force’ (Gramsci 1971: 377). Whilst it is true that the dominant economic class can (and does) exercise sheer coercive force, this factor does not solely account for its control: alliances are required with other fractions if this is to be achieved on a stable and lasting basis. Maintaining hegemony is dependent not only upon exercising coercive power, but also by attaining consent by acting as the ‘moral’ leaders of society and framing ideational terms of reference.
and thus –
“Hegemony derives from the ways of doing and thinking of the dominant social strata of the dominant state or states insofar as these ways of doing and thinking have inspired emulation or acquired the acquiescence of the dominant social strata of other states. These social practices and the ideolo-gies that explain and legitimize them constitute the foundation of the hegemonic order. Hegemony frames thought and thereby circumscribes action. ” (Cox:1992)