Hegemony: the Gramscian Analysis of Television and Movie

1740 WordsNov 21, 20147 Pages
Hegemony: the Gramscian Analysis of Television and Movie Hegemony is described as the process by which the ruling class or, more likely, the alliance of group persuades the subordinate classes or groups accept its view of society through the elaboration and penetration of ideology into their common sense and everyday practice. The key idea is “common sense” which refers to dominant ideological messages presented as normal and obvious. Hegemony, a term that came from the writings of Karl Marx, was conceptualized by Antonio Gramsci, a Marxist social philosopher who lived in Mussolini’s Italy. Because Gramsci was a Marxist, he subscribed to the basic Marxist premise of the historical dialectic. This means that, according to classic Marxist theories, societies must transform over time from oppressive economic systems to more and more liberating ones, until society finally reaches the Utopian state of communism. Marx believed that capitalism was an oppressive economic system because of the unequal distribution of the wealth among a few powerful people, and he believed that eventually, the masses would overthrow capitalism and move to a less oppressive system. According to the historical dialectic, the masses will overthrow oppressive economic systems. But what happened in Italy during the Mussolini years? The capitalist system was replaced not by a less oppressive system, but by the extremely oppressive system of Fascism. This puzzled Gramsci, as it ran contrary to the theory of the historical dialectic. As a Marxist in Mussolini’s Italy, Gramsci spent much of his life in prison. There, he theorized as to why Italians didn’t overthrow the oppressive regime. Drawing upon Marxism, Gramsci conceptualized the theory of hegemony, which posits that oppressive regimes are able to stay in power through a combination of coercion and consent, with an emphasis on consent. That is,

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