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Definition of Hegemony

(noun) The authority, dominance, and influence of one group, nation, or society over another group, nation, or society; typically through cultural, economic, or political means.

Examples of Hegemony

  • The cultural influence of the United States on the rest of the world spread through movies, music, and television.
  • The cultural and societal definitions of acceptable femininity and masculinity.

Hegemony Pronunciation

Pronunciation Usage Guide

Syllabification: he·gem·o·ny

Audio Pronunciation

– American English
– British English

Phonetic Spelling

  • American English – /hi-jEm-uh-nee/
  • British English – /hi-gE-muh-nee/

International Phonetic Alphabet

  • American English – /həˈdʒɛməni/
  • British English – /ˈhɛɡᵻməni/

Usage Notes

  • Plural: hegemonies
  • A dominate leader is referred to as a hegemon.
  • It is easy to associate hegemony synonymously with domination but it is more nuanced. Hegemonic power works by consent, not coercion caused by force or violence; thus it is not questioned. Hegemony supports the status quo and solidifies the idea that “how it is” represents “how it should be.” Therefore, hegemonic power becomes “common sense” and normalized within a society, facilitating compliance.
  • The Marxist theory of cultural hegemony (also called ideological hegemony) developed by Antonio Gramsci (1891–1937) explains how the dominant class has the power to control not only a society’s economic and political institutions, but also to influence the intellectual and moral basis of society whereby their own superior position is considered in the best interest of all. Cultural hegemony allows the dominant class to create and transfer beliefs, mores, and values to the subordinate class.
  • Hegemony is an example of soft power.
  • Sociologist study numerous forms of hegemony such as hegemonic masculinity and media hegemony.
  • A (noun) hegemonist exerts (adjective) hegemonic control to (adverb) hegemonistically create (nounhegemonism.

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Cite the Definition of Hegemony

ASA – American Sociological Association (5th edition)

Bell, Kenton, ed. 2015. “hegemony.” In Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Retrieved June 23, 2024 (https://sociologydictionary.org/hegemony/).

APA – American Psychological Association (6th edition)

hegemony. (2015). In K. Bell (Ed.), Open education sociology dictionary. Retrieved from https://sociologydictionary.org/hegemony/

Chicago/Turabian: Author-Date – Chicago Manual of Style (16th edition)

Bell, Kenton, ed. 2015. “hegemony.” In Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Accessed June 23, 2024. https://sociologydictionary.org/hegemony/.

MLA – Modern Language Association (7th edition)

“hegemony.” Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Ed. Kenton Bell. 2015. Web. 23 Jun. 2024. <https://sociologydictionary.org/hegemony/>.