- 'The principal of hope' Utopian images, effective political organisation and leadership can bring about social change.
- Interested in how the ruling class maintain their control over society through ideas.
- Uses hegemony - ideological denomination or leadership of society - to refer to the way the ruling class are able to use ideas such as religion to maintain control.
- e.g. 1920s/30s in Italy the conservative ideological power of the catholic church helped to win the support for the fascist regime.
- In some circumstances religion can challenge the ruling class.
- E.g. may help the working class to see through the ruling class hegemony and some clergy may act as organic intellectuals leaders who can support working clsss organisations.
- Religion and class conflict
- Billings - applies Gramsci's ideas in a case study comparing class struggle in two communities - coal mine and textile workers in Kentucky in the 1920s and 30s. Both were working class and evangelical protestants, but the miners were much more millitant, struggling for better conditions.
- The differences in levels of militancy can be understood in terms of hegemony and the role of religion. The miners benefited from the leadership of organic intellectual miners who were also lay preachers.
- Billings shows that the same religion can be called upon either to defend that status quo or justify the struggle to change it.
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