Re: hegemony and the polyphony of culture
JAMES BENTHALL (firstname.lastname@example.org)
9 Dec 1994 18:48 CST
In article <email@example.com>, firstname.lastname@example.org (Wing-Hoi Chan (GD 1999)) writes...
>JAMES BENTHALL (email@example.com) wrote:
>: Thats hegemony. When the masses *believe*, without questioning, that the elite
>: culture is superior then they have fallen into a hegemonic relationship. The
>: internalization or acceptance of such a belief is what Gramsci called
>: "ideological hegemony". A good example is Social Darwinism in America. Many
>i am glad that some one finally responded.
>but then i think the same problem comes up in your response:
>belief in superiority of elite culture does not involve internalizing
>elite culture. it may be phrase as internalization of that belief.
>it comes down to believing that the elites are superior. in this kind
>of argument that actual contents of elite culture does not matter at
>all. i am not sure if people who invoke "hegemony" or "hegemonic
>culture" actually meant what i just said. any further pointers?
BTW, I was doing some reading and discovered a passage that reminded me of
this thread. Its from Immanuel Wallerstein's "Crisis at Transition" in
_Dynamics of Global Crisis_:
"The boundaries a state comes to have are often arbitrary and frequently
unstable...Their very arbitrariness and instability, the fact that a modern
state is a creation...means that state structures need a social cement to
function adequately. This cement is nationalism. But whereas state
boundaries are both juridical and physical, the boundaries of nations are
socio-psychological--they can be drawn wherever one wishes to draw them--
and constructing a "people" is a bilateral process, bringing into concordance
the self-image of the people concerned and the other-image of other peoples.
Thus the construction of a people is far more tenuous than the constuction of
a state, and it is no accident that a perfect congruence of the boundaries
of state and nation does not exist."
Just wanted to throw that part in, now for the pertinent part.
"This construction of peoples, or nations, has not been haphazard. Just as
states are placed in a hierarchy of power, reflecting a spatial hierarchy of
the production processes and of the concentration of capital in the world-
economy, so peoples are located in a rank of "superiority" and "inferiority."
Anthropologists may talk of "cultural relativity," but every street urchin
knows the difference between the supermen and the "minorities." Racism is
not merely endemic to the modern world-system; it is intrinsic to it."
I just had to share with everyone. :)