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Gramsci’s concept of hegemony state and civil society Essay Sample 

This essay sample shall discuss the various aspects of Gramsci’s concept of Hegemony theory (cultural Hegemony) and Gramsci’s idea of state and civil society.

Antonio Francesco Gramsci was an Italian politician, intellectual, writer, and philosopher who was also a Marxist theorist.

He came up with the concepts of Hegemony and historical bloc which became most important for the different disciple groups.

The word “Hegemony” is the dominance, power, or leadership of one social or political group over the other groups in the society. It is the ultimate political influence or dominance of one authority over the other in a system or social structure.

The concept of Hegemony has been explained by many theorists of different times in their own perspective.

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Gramsci’s hegemony based on Karl Marx theory of capitalism 

Gramsci’s cultural hegemony is based on the grounds of the Karl Marx’s theory. Karl Marx states that the dominant ideology of a society is based on the values and beliefs of the ruling class.

Gramsci made an effort to explain the worker’s revolution that was predicted by Marx in the previous decade.

Karl Marx’s theory of capitalism explained that capitalism is thriving and surviving on the dominance and exploitation of the workers by the ruling group. He also mentioned that workers will take economic exploitation up to a certain limit and then in retaliation would struggle and throw away the ruling class.

Gramsci’s concept of cultural hegemony theory

Antonio Francesco Gramsci developed the concept of cultural hegemony in his writing called the ‘Prison Writings’.

He is best known for writing on sociology and the ideology of society and norms. His famous cultural hegemony describes how the state or the ruling class exercises its dominance over the other classes in society.

The ruling class uses various cultural institutions to maintain power in capitalist societies. The main motive of such ruling power is to create control and maintain capitalist order in the society rather than using force to maintain it.

Cultural hegemony is basically the ruling of one ideological thought by creating a political influence or cultural dominance over the other group or class. It is achieved through the medium of social institutions like churches, schools, courts, media, and others in society.

The ruling class with the help of these social institutions can influence and dominate the rest of the society with its cultural values, norms, ideas, views, and behavior.

These social institutions help in socializing people and sharing their beliefs and values and the politically affluent social group will rule over the rest of the people or society.

Gramsci believed that there is much more to the class structure domination, capitalism, and working-class exploitation. Karl Marx did not focus on the role of ‘ideology’ in shaping the economic and social structure of society.

In “The Intellectuals” which was writing by Gramsci he described the power of ideology is to reproduce the social structure and norms through social institutions of education and religion.

He argued that the intellectuals of society actually belong to high social status and have social prestige in society as they are very educated.

They function as a mentor/guide of the ruling party class as they give people direction and guidance through teaching them rules, values, principles, and beliefs established by the ruling class. He believed that the education system has a role in shaping cultural hegemony.

Gramsci in his writing “The Study of Philosophy” discussed the role of ‘common sense’ in producing cultural hegemony.

It follows the Marx theory where one could get successful through hard work and dedication and it follows the social structure and system of capitalism that is valid.

It states that those who are economically developed with good status have struggled for it and those who are not hardworking deserve their impoverished state.

‘Common sense’ concept states that success and social status are the primary responsibility of the individual person and with their hard work can obscure the racial, ruling, and gender inequalities built in the system.

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Gramsci’s theory of civil society

Gramsci’s idea or notion of civil society is a direct expression of hegemony which is an established relationship of social powers among the social groups in a historical-political situation.

Hegemony requires direction and leadership as well apart from domination in a political and social sphere.

Civil society is an ideological concept as it is closely related to the production, circulation, and consumption of discourses and myths. In order to be operative critical ideas must be allowed to make way to the life of people and their existence.

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The above sample explains the cultural hegemony theory, Karl Marx theory, and civil society.

Sociology, Social science, Social studies QQI Level 5, Applied Social Studies QQI Level 5, Health and Social studies (sociology and psychology) students might find this sample useful while writing assignments based on social concepts and sociology.

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