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Theoretical Skirmish - Essay Example

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The two authors who debated in this theoretical skirmish were Celeste Condit and Dana Cloud, and they basically debated the meaning of hegemony, using two examples. Cloud used the case study of Oprah Winfrey to examined hegemony in the United States, while Condit used…
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Theoretical Skirmish

Download file to see previous pages... 115), while Condit did not clearly define the term, but stated that hegemony resisted “the exclusive and narrow focus on the economic base that pervaded earlier Marxist theories” (Condit, 1994, p. 206).
Condit stated that the earlier Marxist theories held that in capitalism, dominant classes imposed their capitalism ideology on the working class, and that, since capitalism flourished around the globe, while Marxism failed, the ideology had to have been spread by “coercive military force of the State proper and the leadership exerted in the civil society on behalf of the world view of the group in power” (Condit, 1994, p. 206). In other words, according to this theory, capitalism is maintained in these societies by coercion and by leadership. The leaders must have allies with whom they have active assent, while also maintaining passive assent from the governed. In this way, there is a distinction between power and leading – power is something that a person obtains, while leading is the quality the person exerts. It is this latter quality that stabilizes a society. Leading takes into account that there are a spectrum of interests in the populace, and that the leading groups interest is not the only one. If a society does not take this into account, but, rather, that the leader merely dictates his own worldview on the populace, this is dominating, as opposed to leading, and this results in “dictatorship without hegemony” (Condit, 1994, p. 207).
Thus, hegemony is defined as a way to stabilize society by generating some kind of consent by the populace to the ideological bent of the leader. Condit and Cloud take slightly different tacts in illustrating the concept of hegemony, however. Condit states that hegemony in the United States is accomplished by concordance. In pre-industrial societies, hegemony was accomplished in a different way. Because these societies were more ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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