Gramsci and Hegemony

                  TERM PAPER
  Gramsci on Ideology and Hegemony
According to Gramsci, the supremacy of a social group or class manifests itself in two different ways: ‘domination’ or ‘coercion’ and ‘intellectual and moral leadership’. The intellectual and moral leadership is what constitutes hegemony. Social control is external as well as internal, that is, besides influencing behaviour and choice externally, through rewards and punishments, it also affects them internally by moulding personal convictions into a replica of prevailing norms. Such internal control is based on hegemony, which refers to an order in which a common social moral language is spoken and in which one concept of reality is dominant. Domination is realized through coercive machinery of state, hegemony is obtained by consent and it is mainly exercised through civil society which comprises of educational, religious and associational institutions. The ideological predominance of a particular group or class results in hegemony.

Gramsci’s long and miserable confinement by the Fascist state resulted in one of the most significant contribution to twentieth century Marxist thought, the theory of “hegemony”. The concept of hegemony is the unifying thread of Gramsci’s prison notes, and appears to be the logical conclusion of his total political experience. For Gramsci, the concept of hegemony comprises of “leadership” and “domination” together. Gramsci in his Quaderni refers to hegemony in terms of ideological leadership and counter pose it to the moment of force. This is evident when he speaks of ‘political hegemony’ or ‘political leadership’ which undoubtedly means the consensual aspect of political control. Gramsci distinguishes between Political Society that is, dictatorship or coercive apparatus, for the purpose of assimilating the popular masses to the type of production and economy of a given period and Civil Society or hegemony of a...