I have selected the theoretical concept of ‘hegemony’ in relation to the cultural practise of ‘American culture’.

In essence ‘hegemony’ is the term used to describe the existence of dominance of one social group over another, whereby the ruling group, as opposed to gaining dominance by force, acquires some degree of consent from the subordinate group. Ultimately, the dominant group persuades the subordinate group to accept, adopt and practise their values and norms in order to maintain their power. Marxist philosopher Antonio Gramsci coined one of the best known accounts of hegemony known as ‘cultural hegemony’. His theory, in relation to the state, suggested how the “domination of   one class over others is achieved by a combination of political and ideological means.”   i.e. the combination of coercion and the role of ideology in winning the consent of dominated classes. It must be noted at this point that although the balance between coercion and consent will vary from society to society, it is generally the latter that will always be of greater importance within capitalist societies. According to Gramsci, the state was the key instrument of coercive force, and the winning consent being achieved by the members of civil society. e.g. the family, trade Unions, the Church etc.
In essence, what Gramsci is attempting to convey is that the working-class has a dual consciousness, partly determined by the ideology of the capitalist class and partly determined by their experience of capitalist society. Hegemony, in a more general sense can be seen to reflect this theory. The members of a particular society are not forced by the alleged dominant group to accept their subservient roles. Rather, compromises are established between the two groups in which the dominant group is successful in projecting its own particular way of seeing the world so that it is accepted as ‘common-sense’ by the subordinate group. The grounds on which this hegemony is established is by means...