What is hegemony?
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What Does hegemony Mean
Before entering fully into the meaning of the term hegemony, we are going to proceed to discover its etymological origin. In this case, we have to underline that it is a word that derives from Latin, since it is the result of the sum of two lexical components of that language:
-The noun “hegemon”, which can be translated as “boss”.
-The suffix “-ia”, which is used to indicate “quality”.
The term is used to refer to a predominance , a superiority or a preponderance .
For example: “The British driver will try to extend his hegemony in the new season” , “This country has imposed its cultural hegemony on the region for more than half a century” , “In the last decades, the hegemony of the tournament was shared between the two teams from the capital ” .
Preponderance, superiority, predominance or supremacy are some of the words that can be used as synonyms for the term hegemony that we are dealing with now. On the contrary, among its antonyms there are nouns such as disadvantage or inferiority, for example.
The concept of hegemony is usually used to refer to the dominance that an entity exercises over other entities of the same type. Many times it is applied to the supremacy of one country over another or others . There are, however, different meanings according to the context.
World hegemony refers to the position of preeminence that a State or a group of nations reaches over the rest of the countries. According to various analysts, after the Second World War , the United States managed to impose a world hegemony thanks to its military power, its economic development and its cultural influence. However, China and the European Union also wield great power.
In the same way, we cannot ignore that a few years from now there is also talk of what is known as post-hegemony. With it, what is tried is not only to question what the rules and norms of political hegemony are, but also to carry out a reflection on that and even propose new practices in that sense both at a political and even theoretical level.
There are already various works that thoroughly analyze the aforementioned post-hegemony. A good example of this is, for example, the book entitled “Poshegemony. The end of a paradigm of political philosophy in America ”, written by Rodrigo Castro Orellana and published in 2015.
However, there is also an essay that responds to the title of "Posthegemony: political theory and Latin America", which saw the light in 2003 and is the work of Jon Beasley-Murray.
The Italian philosopher Antonio Gramsci , for his part, coined the idea of cultural hegemony to indicate a phenomenon of domination that does not resort to direct violence, but to social constructions . For Gramsci , the ruling class exercises cultural hegemony by imposing, through various mechanisms, its institutions, customs and values on the subordinate classes.
In this way, the subordinate classes take on the worldview of the ruling class as their own, setting aside their own identity and perpetuating the status quo . Thanks to cultural hegemony, those in control do not need to resort to arms to keep it.