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date: 23 May 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter explores Antonio Gramsci’s theory of hegemony, arguing that it is a theory of national-popular class politics aimed at illuminating how the achievement of state power and socioeconomic transformation can only be secured by mobilizing and winning the consent of the masses through a strategy of “national-popular” political and ideological alliance in civil society. Examined here are 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. The conclusion suggests 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.

Keywords: Gramsci, hegemony, class, national-popular, international politics

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