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Definition Essay - The True Meaning of Hegemony

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Hegemony - The True Meaning


Hegemony was derived from the Greek word "egemonia," meaning leader or ruler, often in the sense of a state other than his own (Williams 144).  Although the base of this definition remains true, the word has evolved to much more.  Hegemony is defined by Fontana Dictionary of Modern Thought as "Political and economical control exercised by a dominant class, and its success in projecting its own way of seeing the world, human and social relationships as 'common sense' and part of the natural order by those who are, in fact, subordinated to it."  Hegemony is defined as a predominant influence or leadership of a dominant class or institution over a subordinate class; the question is are the "subordinates" forced to follow the beliefs, or do they agree with them?

      Antonio Gramsci, a leading Marxist thinker in the early 20th century, used hegemony to define class structure, (e.g. bourgeois hegemony).  Gramsci's philosophy was that the subordinate class was to follow this "common sense" that the dominant class set, however, Gramsci ...


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