Current and Past Hegemonies Essay

Current and Past Hegemonies Essay

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According to Ellis-Christensen (2014), “The term hegemony refers to the leadership, dominance or great influence that one entity or group of people has over others.” Hegemony is derived from a Greek word, hegeisthai which means to lead. Years back, this term was often used to refer to a country or state that exerted power over other city-states or countries indirectly as opposed to the use of military force. In modern times the word hegemony often refers to the capability of a group in society to have power over others in the same society. A good example would be the wealthy class where we see them practicing hegemony over the poor in society because of the ability to use available resources to influence many aspects of society and government. Individuals who are able to exert power over others in society are referred to as hegemons. The term hegemony is usually used in reference to the power of a single group in a society to basically dominate and lead other groups in the society. This is done in several ways for example by influencing government leaders, by controlling forms of communication or by influencing voters. Take for example some lobbying groups, which might have hegemony status over some leaders in power. In order to limit political spending by special interest groups, some rules are designed to reduce their dominance and allow individual voters to have more control.
In modern times a single country might also be considered to be hegemonic if it possesses enough power to influence the way that other countries behave in the international system. Hegemonic states, such as the British Empire of the mid-19th century and the United States of the 21st century, have extraordinary influence over many other countries. The hegem...


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... the members of the historical bloc. The moment counter-hegemonic activities gain influence or rather put the hegemons under duress, consent ceases to be a way of ruling people. Hegemons have the capability to act unilaterally when it comes to pursuing their own interests. This move raises expectations among domestic players and officials that the government will do whatever is necessary when the national interests are at stake. Hegemons also have a role to play in maintaining international order provided by international law or international institutions. This ensures fair distribution of power and prevents rise of conflicts. Under this we see hegemons in a position where they have to follow the rules and regulations o the institutions they helped establish. Doing otherwise undermines the existence if such institutions even if it is not in its interest to do so.

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