Gramsci and hegemony


Gramsci and hegemony:

THe most important example of humanistic Marxism is Gramsci.

Introduces the concept of hegemony or ideological and moral leadership of society to explain how the ruling class maintains its position.

He argues that the proletariat myst develop its own counter hegemony to owin the leadership of society from the bourgeoisie.

Gramsci was the first leader of the Italian communist party in the 1920s.

He rejects economic determinism as an explanation ofo change: this means that the transition from Capitalism to Communism will never take place simply as a result of economic forces.

Even though factors such as mass unemployment and falling wages may create the preconditions for revolution, ideas play a central role in determining whether or not change will actually occur.

This can be seen in Gramsci's concept of hegemony.

He sees the ruling class maintaining its dominance in 2 ways:


Using the army, police, prisons and courts of the capitalist state to force other classes to accept its rule.

2. Consent (hegemony):

It uses ideas and values to persuade the subordinate classes that its rule is legitimate.

Hegemony and revolution:

In advanced capitalist societies, the rule relies heavily on consent to maintain their rule.

Gramsci agrees with Marx that they are able to do so because the ruling class control the institutions that produce and spread ideas (such as the media/ education system/ religion.)

As long as the rest of society accepts ruling-class hegemony, there will not be a revolution (even where the economic conditions may…


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