Concept of Hegemony – In culture, history, politics, hegemonic body

We explain what hegemony is, its meaning in Colombian history, culture and international politics. In addition, the hegemonic body.

Hegemonic or domination relations are unequal ties.

What is hegemony?

The hegemony It is a relationship of dominance or supremacy that an entity exercises over its peers. Thus, a nation, an economic group or a political entity can dictate to others the way to follow and the way of acting, thinking or behaving. It is a word widely used in the field of politics, sociology and cultural criticism.

Hegemonic or domination relationships are unequal, vertical links, in which power or authority is exercised over peers. Those who occupy this central and hierarchical place are known as hegemon, a term derived from the military jargon of Ancient Greece, and which designated whoever guides the army. In turn comes from the Greek verb hegemonic, translatable as “lead”, “guide” or “command”.

However, the use of this term in matters of international politics does not necessarily refer to military power, but also to economic and cultural dominance, that is, to the different ways in which one nation can rule over another and influence clearly and decisively. at its destination, with the intention of expanding and sustaining said international dominance.

Hegemonic relations benefit the hegemon, since they subject autonomy and local decision-making to their interests and convenience.

World hegemony

World hegemony would logically become the relationship of primacy and majority dominance over the nations of the entire world, that is, the supremacy that a nation can exercise no longer over its neighboring countries or its strategic partners, but over almost the entire globe.

This is a situation of international power only achieved, throughout history, by six nations that have been able to guide or govern the world system of international relations: the Netherlands, Great Britain, Spain, France, Portugal and the United States. United.

During each of the stages of hegemony of these nations, their respective cultures have been immensely valued throughout the world, their economies have been internationally influential and their diplomacy and / or military might have imposed their will by hook or by crook.

Cultural hegemony

Gramsci cultural hegemony
According to Gramsci, cultural hegemony affects what we consider common sense.

Another very common use of the word “hegemony” is that which has to do with cultural hegemony, a concept proposed by the Italian Marxist philosopher Antonio Gramsci (1891-1937).

It can be understood as the dominance exercised over the functioning of society by a dominant social class (Gramsci spoke of “bourgeois cultural hegemony”), through a set of social norms and cultural practices designed to make the proletariat renounce its identity and group culture.

According to Gramsci, this type of hegemony gives the ruling class a cultural control of society, that is, of the way in which it is thought and of the values ​​that are professed. Said control not explicit but subtle, a form of manipulation, which affects what we usually call “common sense”.

Thus, the ruling class would guarantee its dominance over the means and instruments of production, since its ideological enemy would be distracted or convinced that both belong to the same side.

Conservative hegemony

In Colombian history, a conservative hegemony is known as a 44-year period in which the Conservative Party continuously controlled the Colombian state. It began in 1886, with the ascent to the presidency of José María Campo Serrano (1832-1915), in the name of the political movement called Regeneration; and culminated in 1930 with the defeat of the conservatives against the liberal Enrique Olaya Herrera (1880-1937).

This lapse of conservative domination was the consequence of the defeat of the liberals in the so-called Thousand Day War (1899-1902), in which both sides fought to the death for political control of the nation.

It was characterized by the fierce repression of workers’ movements, as is the case of the Banana Massacre of 1928, when the army was ordered to shoot at the workers of the United Fruit Company, when the latter protested for better pay and better health conditions.

Hegemonic body

hegemonic body
Many real bodies do not respond to the hegemonic body model.

We speak of “hegemonic body” to refer to the medical, aesthetic and cultural idea of ​​body and corporality that is imposed from the most traditional sectors of culture, and that it is imposed on the masses as a “good”, “acceptable” or “desirable” body model through various everyday cultural practices, such as advertising, the media, etc.

This concept, closely related to that of cultural hegemony, is typical of contemporary post-Marxist theories (late twentieth century and early twenty-first century) that, hand in hand with feminism and other forms of social activism, try to break with canonical molds beauty set.

Bodies that do not conform to these standards are often rejected, marginalized and not taken into account. For example, obese people find it very difficult to get clothes in their size, since fashion is designed for people of conventional sizes.