Gramsci's Theory Of Hegemony

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Hegemony has been a subject of much scrutiny and research in the scholarly field around the world, given its central role and implications on the power relation networks in society; and this will be the focus of following paper. First, I will be dealing with Gramsci’s theory of hegemony. Then, I will demonstrate how ideology and discourse are central and powerful means through which a state imposes its hegemony; since ideology, hegemony and discourse are interwoven instruments that contribute to “the social production of knowledge” and “the perpetuation of power relations” (Stoddart). Finally, the last part of my paper will be devoted to counter hegemony as a potential means to resist domination. To begin with, the Italian philosopher and…show more content…
Generally speaking, ideology refers to a set of ideas, beliefs, values and rules that a social group is committed to. Marxist conception of ideology describes how the dominant ideas within a given society reflect and help to preserve the interests of a ruling economic class. In reality, ‘through ideology, the elitist social groups naturalize capitalist relations of production in a way that workers come to view the capitalist mode of production as the only viable option” (Stoddart). Hence, ideology is so powerful a system of ideas which the masses lack the intellectual capacity to understand how it functions and to resist its influences and outcomes. Gramsci speaks of “the hegemonic ideology of the Bourgeoisie” that offers “a kind of consciousness which concerns the realization of ideological interests of the subordinate classes” (Im, 1991). This idea implies the making of the subordinate classes accept their position of subordination through granting the interests of individual bourgeois a universal aspect. As a consequence, the subordinate masses internalize these ideas and materialize them into a continuous consent to these relationships of subordination and…show more content…
Counter-hegemony can be achieved through the examination of the existing dominant discourses, uncovering the meanings, practices and fallacies rooted in the system, and then introducing rival discourses which would embody the interests and the claims of the subordinate groups. In this context, Gramsci defines the counter hegemonic project as “the concrete birth of a need to develop more universal concepts and more refined and decisive ideological weapons” (Hunt, 1990). Gramsci theorizes for a counter-hegemonic project that involves economic, political and ideological preparations before overthrowing capitalism and before winning power (Im, 1991). That is, the subordinate class should be prepared to start the struggle for emancipation and social transformation through standing firm against the circulated and prevailing discourses. However, it is worth noting that the leading group is not likely to compromise its superior privileged position and to allow a rise in status for the subordinate

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