Definition Essay - The True Meaning of Hegemony

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Hegemony - The True Meaning Hegemony was derived from the Greek word "egemonia," meaning leader or ruler, often in the sense of a state other than his own (Williams 144). Although the base of this definition remains true, the word has evolved to much more. Hegemony is defined by Fontana Dictionary of Modern Thought as "Political and economical control exercised by a dominant class, and its success in projecting its own way of seeing the world, human and social relationships as 'common sense' and part of the natural order by those who are, in fact, subordinated to it." Hegemony is defined as a predominant influence or leadership of a dominant class or institution over a subordinate class; the question is are the…show more content…
The idea behind this was that the dominant class must continually make sure that the subordinate class agrees with its views in order to maintain a functional social system. For example, in the 1960's, many African Americans were opposed to how they were treated in our society, thus, the "dominant" white class had to reevaluate their ideals to maintain a functioning and non-violent society. Through compromise, the subordinate class will ideally consent to the dominant class's control, and "perfect" hegemony will be achieved. The opposing side to hegemony, however, is that it could develop into a one sided leadership. In perfect hegemony, everyone is in consent, but problems arise when people wonder if they have really consented, or if they are just so used to following rules, that it has become a part of them. Government, churches, schools, and media are all types of hegemonic institutions because they provide people with ideas on how to live their life. But can a hegemonic institution go too far? Noam Chomsky believes that "resistance.is an obligation.for those who fear the consequences and detest the reality of the attempt to impose American hegemony." He is fearful that hegemony can be taken too far and resemble a dictatorship. Presently America does not resemble a "perfect" hegemonic society, which it normally tries to achieve, because within the country most of the citizens do not agree with the government's
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