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SOCIOL 2S06 (310)
David Young (301)
Lecture 20

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McMaster University
David Young

Fox 1 Lecture 20 SOCIOL 2S06 Monday November 25, 2013  The Theoretical Ideas of Antonio Gramsci cont. 1) How Hegemony works? a. It works through ideology b. The dominant group will try to ensure that its ideology is accepted by making linkages to the interests of subordinate groups c. This is done in particular ways: i. To present the specific interests of the dominant group as being in the general interests of everyone 1. Ex. Capitalist ideology holds that economic profits are necessary – you will never hear how economic profits are necessary for THEM, instead they will talk about how economic profits are necessary for EVERYONE ELSE 2. “The continuing economic health of our company is necessary to benefit our customers (through improved services) and our workers (through higher wages).” 3. As a result, subordinate groups may very well accept that position – “Capitalists aren’t so bad. They make money, but they do things that benefit us too. There is no need for us to start a revolution and overthrow capitalism. The system is acceptable”. – GIVING CONSENT TO THEIR OWN DOMINATION; ACCEPTING THE LEADERSHIP OF THE DOMINANT GROUP 2) The Ongoing Effort to Win or Secure Hegemony a. Argues that the dominant group engages in an ongoing effort to “win” or “secure” hegemony – it is constantly trying to make these linkages to the interests of the less powerful subordinate groups b. Hegemony is always in process – it’s continually being developed c. Without that ongoing effort to win or secure hegemony, to win or secure consent to the system, a crisis of hegemony may occur 3) A Crisis of Hegemony a. According to Gramsci, a crisis of hegemony occurs when a dominant group has lost the consent of subordinate groups i. “If the ruling class has lost its consensus, i.e. is no longer ‘leading’ but only ‘dominant’, exercising coercive force alone, this means precisely that the great masses have become detached from their traditional ideologies and no longer believe what they used to believe” – Antonio Gramsci, Selections from the Prison Notebooks b. Two ways of this happening: i. Dominant group engages in unpopular actions, therefore lose the consent of subordinate groups ii. Involves political activism of subordinate groups A) Strategies for Resistance to Hegemony 1. The War of Manoeuvre • A short term tactic and it involves a frontal attack on the state – the proletariat and other subordinate groups will organize and lead a revolution against the bourgeoisie, and it will begin by ceasing state power 2. The War of Position • In relation to the war of position, there are a few different issues o What did Gramsci develop this concept?  He knew that a war of manoeuvre would not yet be possible in some countries • We did see a war of manoeuvre in Russia – Gramsci saw it, Russian revolution began and overthrow capitalism and developed their communist society – we thought it
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