Hegemony (pronEng|hɨˈdʒɛməni (Amer.), IPA|/hɨˈɡɛməni/ (Brit.)) [Clive Upton, Wiliam A. Kretzschmar, Rafal Konopka: "Oxford Dictionary of Pronunciation for Current English". Oxford University Press, 2001] ( _el. ἡγεμονία "hēgemonía") is a concept that has been used to describe and explain the dominance of one social group over another, such that the ruling group or hegemon acquires some degree of consent from the subordinate, as opposed to dominance purely by force. [Harvnb|Joseph|2002|p=1] It is used broadly to mean any kind of dominance, and narrowly to refer to specifically cultural and non-military dominance, as opposed to the related notions of
international relations, a hegemon may be defined as a power that can dictate the policies of all other powers in its vicinity, or one that is able to defeat any other power or combination of powers that it might be at war with. Examples of (potentially) hegemonic states in history are the United States, the united Germany that had existed from 1871to 1945, [Henry Kissinger, "Diplomacy", (New York 1994), p. 137-8: " [...] European coalitions were likely to arise to contain Germany's growing, potentially dominant, power.", p. 145: "Unified Germany was achieving the strength to dominate Europe all by itself--an occurrence which Great Britain had always resisted in the past when it came about by conquest."] or historically the Spanish and British Empire.
The processes by which a dominant culture maintains its dominant position: for example, the use of institutions to formalize power; the employment of a bureaucracy to make power seem abstract (and, therefore, not attached to any one individual); the inculcation of the populace in the ideals of the hegemonic group through education, advertising, publication, etc.; the mobilization of a police force as well as military personnel to subdue opposition.
Researchers use hegemony to explain how dominant groups or individuals can maintain their power -- the capacity of dominant classes to persuade subordinate ones to accept, adopt and internalize their values and norms.
Antonio Gramscidevised one of the best-known accounts of hegemony. His theory defined the Stateby a mixture of coercionand hegemony, between which he drew distinctions. According to Gramsci, hegemony consists of socio-political power that flows from enabling the "spontaneous consent" of the populace through intellectual and moral leadershipor authority as employed by the subalterns of the State. The power of the hegemony is thus primarily through coercion and consent rather than armed force. Such conceptions are sometimes referred to as " cultural hegemony."
In "Hegemony and Socialist Strategy",
Ernesto Laclauand Chantal Mouffedefined hegemony as a discursive strategy of combining principles from different systems of thought into one coherent ideology. Drawing on their ideas, critic Jennifer Daryl Slack's defines hegemony as "a process by which a hegemonic class articulates (or co-ordinates) the interests of social groups such that those groups actively 'consent' to their subordinated status." [Harvnb|Slack|1996|p= 117]
Hegemonies in history
The word "hegemony" originated in ancient
Greeceand derives from the word "hegeisthai" (meaning "to lead"). An early example of hegemony during ancient Greek historyoccurred when Spartabecame the hegemon of the Peloponnesian Leaguein the 6th century BC. Later, in 337 BC, Philip II of Macedonbecame the personal Hegemon of the League of Corinth, a position he passed on to his son Alexander the Great.
The concept of "Hegemony" was also present in ancient
China, during the Spring and Autumn Period(ca. 770 BC - 480 BC), when the weakening of the Zhou Dynasty led to increased autonomy amongst the feudal lords of the period. The hegemons, known as "Ba" (Chinese: 霸), were often appointed by conferences of feudal lords, and they were nominally obliged to uphold the supremacy of the Zhou kings and keep order amongst subordinate states.
The term hegemon is also used to describe
Japan's three unifiers in the late sixteenth century and early seventeenth century. Oda Nobunaga, Toyotomi Hideyoshiand Tokugawa Ieyasueach had different titles (and held many different posts during their lifetimes), but each had in common that they exercised hegemony over all or much of Japan. For ease of reference they are collectively referred to as the three hegemons or the three unifiers.
To the extent that hegemony appears as a cultural phenomenon, cultural institutions maintain it. The
Medicimaintained their hegemony in Tuscany through control of Florence's major guild, the "Arte della Lana." Modern hegemonieswho also maintain themselves through cultural institutionswhich, often with allegedly "voluntary" membershipwhat.
The dominance of the Dutch Republic during the 17th Century (1609-1672) can be considered one of the first instances of a "global" hegemon, with a focus on mercantilism. This was due to its development of wind power and shipping which enabled it to develop as a hegemon because of production efficiency. It then gained a commercial advantage through the generation of the 'Four Great Fleets' and later gained financial dominance, with the emergence of the stock market in Amsterdam.
During much of the rather absolutist reign of Louis XIV (1638-1715), France dominated most of Europe economically, culturally, and militarily. Monarchs imitated his court and style, even paying tribute as vassal status in many cases, while the Papacy could not effect even bishopric appointments, let alone secular politics.
In more recent times, analystswho have used the term hegemony in a more abstract sense to describe the "proletarian
dictatorships"which of the 20th century, resulting in regional domination by local powers, or domination of the world by a global power. China's position of dominancewhen in East Asiafor most of its history offers an example of the regional hegemony.
Cold War(1945 - 1990), with its main avenues of coercion, cooperation, and attraction - the Warsaw Pact, led by the USSR, and NATO, led by the United States, is often referred to as a struggle of hegemons and hegemonies. The details of the parties' respective ideologies have no relevance to whether they were hegemonies: both sides featured superpowers, supported by a coalition and/or alliance of their allies, friends, satellites, clients, and vassals, struggling to achieve dominance over the other, in multiple dimensions and multiple forums, including through military superiority, the arena of hearts and minds, cultural superiority, ideological superiority, and technological superiority, and become the dominant hegemony worldwide. Of course, the details of the ideologies of both parties--and the deeds that that each party did in the service of their respective ideologies--for example, the Soviet intervention into the Hungarian revolution, or the United States intervention into the Vietnamese revolution--did come into play to the extent that they determined the persuasiveness and efficacy of each hegemony.
After the end of the Cold War, some analysts used the term "hegemony" to describe the United States' role as the sole superpower (or, in the words of
Hubert Védrine, as a " hyperpower") in the modern world. However, many scholars of international relations (such as John Mearsheimeror Joseph Nye) argue that the United States does not have true hegemony, since it lacks the resources to impose dominance over the entire globe. While the United States has dominance on political-military issues, it is equal to Europe on the economic scale, and has very little influence on transnational relations by non-state actors. [Joseph S. Nye Sr., "Understanding International Conflicts: An introduction to Theory and History", p. 276-7] Also, China, Russia, India, and the European Unionare considered by somewho to be emerging superpowers capable of or already competing with the United States.
Geography of hegemonies
Hegemony does not leave geography untouched.
Henri Lefebvre's theory of space, as articulated in "The Production of Space", insists that space is not a passive locus of social relations and that space is trialectical. That is space is comprised of mental space, social space and physical space. This said, hegemony can be read as a spatial process. (See Edward Soja, David Harvey, Chantal Mouffe) Geopoliticsinfluences hegemonies. Ancient hegemonies developed in fertile river valleys (an example of hydraulic despotism): Egypt, China and the succession of states in Mesopotamia. In China during the Warring States Erathe state of Qin created artificial waterways (such as the Chengkuo Canal) in order to give itself an advantage over its neighboring rival states. Hegemonic successor states in Eurasia tended to cluster around the Middle Eastfor a period, using either the sea (Greece) or the fringe lands (Persia, Arabia). The focus of European hegemony moved west to Rome, then northwards to the Franksand the Holy Roman Empire. The Atlantic seaboard had its heyday ( Spain, France, Britain) before the fringes of the European cultural area took over in the twentieth century (United States, Soviet Union).
Some regions show continually fluctuating areas of regional hegemony:
India, for example, or the Balkans. Other regions show relative stability: northern China offers a case in point.
Long-lived hegemonies (China, "
Pax Sinica"; Rome, " Pax Romana") offer a contrast to shorter dominations: the Mongol Empireor Japan's Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere.
Resistance and survival
Conrad Phillip Kottak, in "Window on Humanity" (2004), explains hegemony in terms of ideologies that offer explanations about why the existing order is in everyone's interest. Many things are promised, but are said to take time and patience in order for them to happen.
*citation|last=Joseph |first=Jonathan |title=Hegemony: a realist analysis |publisher=Routledge |location=New York |year=2002 |isbn=0-415-26836-2.
*citation|last=Slack |first=Jennifer Daryl |chapter=The Theory and Method of Articulation in Cultural Studies |title= Stuart Hall: Critical Dialogues in Cultural Studies |editor1-first= David |editor1-last= Morley |editor2-first= Kuan-Hsing |editor2-last=Chen |place=London |publisher= Routledge |year= 1996 |pages= 112–127 |isbn= .
* [http://www.cultsock.ndirect.co.uk/MUHome/cshtml/contributions/gramsci.html Stuart Hainsworth, "Gramsci's hegemony theory and the ideological role of the mass media"]
* [http://www.uwec.edu/mdorsher/ica2001/hegemony_online.htm Mike Dorsher, Ph.D., "Hegemony Online: The Quiet Convergence of Power, Culture and Computers"]
* [http://www.caledonia.org.uk/hegemony.htm Hegemony and the hidden persuaders - the power of un-common sense]
* [http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/27/magazine/27world-t.html?ex=1359176400&en=1af8c9c386cc212d&ei=5124&partner=permalink&exprod=permalink Parag Khanna, "Waving Goodbye to Hegemony"]
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