Wednesday, 25 July 2012


Hegemony (UK /hɨˈɡɛməni/, US /ˈhɛdʒɨmoʊni/, US /hɨˈdʒɛməni/; Greek: ἡγεμονία hēgemonía, “leadership”, “rule”) is an indirect form of imperial dominance in which the hegemon (leader state) rules geopolitically sub-ordinate states by the implied means of power, the threat of the threat, rather than by direct military force. In Ancient Greece (8th c. BC – AD 6th c.), hegemony denoted the politico–military dominance of a city-state over other city-states. In the 19th century, hegemony denoted the geopolitical and the cultural predominance of one country upon others; from which derived hegemonism, the Great Power politics meant to establish European hegemony upon continental Asia and Africa. In the 20th-century, Antonio Gramsci developed the philosophy and the sociology of geopolitical hegemony into the theory of cultural hegemony, whereby one social class can manipulate the system of values and mores of a society, in order to create and establish a ruling-class Weltanschauung, a worldview that justifies the status quo of bourgeois domination of the other social classes of the society.

In the praxis of hegemony, imperial dominance is established by means of cultural imperialism, whereby the leader state (hegemon) dictates the internal politics and the societal character of the sub-ordinate states that constitute the hegemonic sphere of influence; either by an internal, sponsored government or by an external, installed government.

The imposition of the hegemon’s way of life — an imperial lingua franca language and bureaucracies (social, economic, educational, governing) — transforms the concrete imperialism of direct military domination into the abstract power of the status quo, indirect imperial domination.Under hegemony, rebellion (social, political, economic, armed) is eliminated either by co-optation of the rebels or by suppression (police and military), without direct intervention by the hegemon; the examples are the latter-stage Spanish and British empires, and the 19th- and 20th-century reichs of unified Germany (1871–1945).