Published by Crackers Books, 27 January 2024


Hegemony: A Concise Overview

  1. Foundational Aspects and Critique: Gramsci's hegemony is often considered a political account of legitimation, combining economic and political accounts. It presupposes the absence of effective authority in the state, focusing on how economic classes become agents instituting political order. This approach underlies Gramsci's critique of traditional Marxist theory, emphasizing the role of ideologies and cultural institutions in maintaining capitalist dominance (Martin, 1997)(Martin, 1997).
  2. Cultural and Ideological Dimensions: The hegemony concept has been pivotal in understanding the cultural and ideological dimensions of power. It's not just about economic or political dominance but involves the shaping of collective consciousness and social norms. Gramsci's work highlights the role of cultural institutions and intellectuals in establishing and maintaining hegemonic power (Ives, 2009)(Ives, 2009).
  3. Hegemony in Global Law: Gramsci's theory has been applied to understand the legal framework, arguing that law is not just a reflection of economic relations but also a key arena where hegemony is exercised and contested. This perspective sees legal institutions as critical in organizing hegemony under specific social conditions (Buckel & Fischer-Lescano, 2009)(Buckel & Fischer-Lescano, 2009).
  4. Application in South Africa: Gramsci's concept of hegemony has been relevant in understanding both apartheid and post-apartheid South Africa. His theory illuminates the problems inherent in apartheid and suggests ways to address growing inequities in the post-apartheid era, showing the adaptability of his concepts across different contexts (Pillay, 2017)(Pillay, 2017).
  5. Hegemony and Language: Gramsci’s studies in linguistics significantly influenced his understanding of hegemony, particularly regarding the role of language in shaping consciousness and social relations. His analysis of language policy and linguistics forms an integral part of his approach to education and hegemony (Ives, 2005)(Ives, 2005).

Conclusion: Gramsci's concept of hegemony provides a nuanced understanding of power, encompassing not only economic and political dimensions but also cultural and ideological aspects. Its application extends beyond Marxist theory, offering insights into various aspects of society and law.


  1. Martin, J. (1997). Hegemony and the crisis of legitimacy in Gramsci. History of the Human Sciences, 10(1), 37-56. Link.
  2. Ives, P. M. (2009). Global English, Hegemony and Education: Lessons from Gramsci. Educational Philosophy and Theory, 41(6), 661-683. Link.
  3. Buckel, S., & Fischer-Lescano, A. (2009). Gramsci Reconsidered: Hegemony in Global Law. Leiden Journal of International Law, 22(2), 437-454. [Link]
  4. Pillay, P. (2017). The Relevance of Antonio Gramsci's Concept of Hegemony to Apartheid and Post-Apartheid South Africa. Gender and behaviour, 15(2), 8678-8692. Link.
  5. Ives, P. M. (2005). Language, Agency and Hegemony: A Gramscian Response to Post‐Marxism. Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy, 8(4), 455-468. Link.

Recommended Citation

Crackers Books. (2024, January 27). Hegemony: A Concise Overview [Crackers Basics]. Retrieved from

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