Cultural Hegemony Essay

Hence, Gramsci’s hegemonic ideology is based on the fact that the ‘dominant social group in a society have the capacity to exercise intellectual and moral direction over society at large and to build a new system of social alliances to support its aims’ (Thussu, 20).

Military force might not always be the best possible way to gain power; in fact it is achieved not with ‘legal and legitimate compulsion’ but by ‘winning active consent’ of the subordinate class (Hall, 1982: 85).

Lastly we will talk about the limitations of hegemony in arriving at an understanding of the role media plays with in the society.

Theoretical Background: Hegemony is a concept that was first posed by an Italian Marxist thinker Antonio Gramsci (1891-1937) in his notebooks; while he was imprisoned.

However, media existing within a state are obliged to follow the ‘formal protocols of broadcasting’ and depend on ‘the form of state and political system which licenses them’ (Hall, 1982: 86-87).

Hence the question of their operation being state driven is very likely.There is still a question as to why people would indisputably consent to let the dominant class control them, why would they agree to cultural and political consensus.Gramsci answers this by suggesting that the subordinate group is not ‘ideologically indoctrinated’ but accepts the values and leadership of the dominant class since it also reflects their own interests (Strinati, 1995: 166; Hall, 19; Gitlin, 2003: 253).In order to understand the mass cultural process one needs to examine how media industries function (Gottdiener, 1985: 980).So, in this essay we examine and dissect mass media through the concept of hegemony, to understand its role.According to Curran (1982: 227) like the medieval churches media bind different people together by promoting collective values and social solidarity; back then it was the Christian faith while now it is consumerism and nationalism through international sporting contests and consumer features.He specially focuses on British media and how they promote collective identity through monarchy just like the Church.Stevenson (19), suggests that hegemony is a continuous battleground where the ‘bourgeoisie and the working class construct economic, political and cultural alliances with other social groups’ and that ‘ideology is represented as the social cement that binds together different class alliances’.He further adds that the ideology works only when it is able to relate to the ‘common sense’ of the people and influence them for change.How hegemony exists in the media system, in corporate decision making process and how ‘ responsible for providing information to the general public will be discussed.We firstly will understand the concept of hegemony before analysing the media system and also talk about counter-hegemony to shed light on how media can sometimes go against the existing dominant hegemonic ideology in a society.


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