Hegemony: a theory of national-popular class politics

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Abstract

This chapter explores Antonio Gramsci’s theory of hegemony arguing it is a theory of national-popular class politics aimed at illuminating how the achievement of state power and socio-economic transformation can only be secured by mobilising and winning the consent of the masses through a strategy of “national-popular” political and ideological alliance in civil society. I examine three essential aspects of the theory: the conditions of hegemonic struggle conceived as a dynamic field of “relations of force”; the apparatus of hegemony constituted by parties, states, civil society and intellectuals; and the politics of hegemony involving a political and ideological campaign for mass consent among the “national-popular” masses. The chapter demonstrates how Gramsci’s concepts illuminate the success and failures of capitalist and socialist hegemonic strategies. I conclude by suggesting that contemporary interpretations and applications of hegemony in social scientific research need to give greater weight to its holistic, class-based and “national-popular” character.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Oxford Handbook of Karl Marx
EditorsMatt Vidal, Tomás Rotta, Tony Smith, Paul Prew
Place of PublicationOxford
PublisherOxford University Press
Chapter20
ISBN (Print)9780190695545
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - Dec 2018

Keywords

  • Gramsci
  • hegemony
  • class
  • national-popular
  • international politics

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