The main argument of this paper suggests that after a protracted period of significant turbulence in the political and economic international order – connected to the decline of a hegemonic power, a systemic crisis of liberalism, and the rise of new centres of domination – a new multi-hegemonic international system is on the horizon. The new system will bring some macro-regional equity and a new era of economic efficiency. At the same time, the emerging order will create new regional subordinations (and new forms of inequalities) within macro-regional hegemonies. The three sections of this paper follow three interlocked hypotheses:
We suggest, first, that the current chaotic international order is the consequence of 1) unsolved structural contradictions that are making the international system more dynamic but simultaneously increasing its anarchic nature and 2) the declining role of the dominant hegemonic power and its main ideological legitimisation (liberalism and neoliberalism).
Secondly, we will argue, that the consequence of those contradictions is a systemic fear that becomes a stimulus for transformation. We argue that – unlike previously when fear was acting as an expedient, but ad hoc, political tool, nowadays it has become the de facto essence of politics. Now fear provides the impetus and reason for politics, substituting other sources of legitimation of power such as democracy, justice, and the common good.
Thirdly, in conclusion, we will argue, that reactions to that fear are taking the form of reinvented hegemonies at the regional and global levels, involving state and non-state actors with powerful consequences for the nation state and the reconfiguration of the global international order.
A note on methodology: the first section of this paper is based on the dialectical method of inquiry of social analysis (action, reaction, followed by a synthesis). It basically follows the Hegelian dialectic, which was later developed by Joachim Fichte to the point of being practically implemented in social inquiry. The second section is informed by a macro-sociological analysis of fear as politics. The final section is based methodologically on the diverse interpretations of Gramsci’s philosophical heritage, as well as the on the neo-Gramscian approach to the study of hegemony.
Due to the fact that the Gramscian concept of hegemony somehow forms the core of the modern theoretical debates on hegemony, it seems to us that it is necessary to single out a special segment devoted to this issue. Our task, of course, is not to ‘rehabilitate’ this or that interpretation of hegemony. The point is that, as a result of a certain set of circumstances, the ‘hegemonic moment’ is gradually turning into an almost independent section of political theory and international relations.
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I. The five contradictions of the world system: A general outlook
Hegemony vs. multipolarity
The first contradiction is fundamental. It’s the ‘hegemony versus multipolarity’ contradiction, which obviously causes the international system to change. The future world order will be somehow formed by this struggle. On the one side of this struggle, there is the US and its allies, on the other side, there are the others. The hegemon, naturally, strives to maintain its hegemony (note: we are not assessing this process morally or ethically). The hegemon always wants to maintain hegemony in order to secure better life conditions, a clearer future, and better stability for its citizens and allies. So, the hegemon or hegemony cannot be called morally or ethically wrong. The problem is that maintaining hegemony is almost impossible in the current world order, and therefore hegemony has to engage with multipolarity, represented by the others. Clearly, the pair of “we versus others” will shape the next years of the world order.
By seeing this struggle, it is not difficult to spot the contradiction of ‘the US + the European Union’ (US hegemony with conditional support of the EU) versus ‘Chinese economic challenges and Russian geo-security challenges’, extended by Indian regional hegemonic ambitions. Last year China’s GDP reached the level of that of the US. It does not demonstrate the quality of life in China or the US, but this definitely became the final warning signal to the US that its domination is being challenged.
So, what is the reaction of the hegemon to these processes? The hegemon reacts by inventing new tools and using some old tools, in order to maintain its hegemony. The Obama administration developed a network of agreements called ‘T-treaty trinity’: Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA), and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). President Trump has been trying to block some of these projects, but in fact, the negotiations are still going on. We even think that Trump’s administration is likely to make progress in these negotiations as he did with USMCA (formerly NAFTA).
These US projects are all about capturing key positions – using institutional and normative frameworks – to maintain the hegemonic position of the US (and possibly the EU). It is interesting that, if this happens (personally we doubt it will), two-thirds of the global GDP will be under agreements dominated by the US. It means that for the years to come, a different type of hegemony – partly military, partly economic, and partly normative – will create a new world order. The interesting fact is that in neither of those agreements China is represented. Russia, obviously, is not included either. In fact, the BRICS countries are excluded from those agreements. It’s a serious signal that shows the existence of ‘we versus the others’ mindset, where those, who are not subordinate to ‘our rules’, will be excluded from crucial normative and institutional frameworks, that will shape the future world order.
Globalisation vs. identity politics
The second contradiction shaping our future is the ‘Globalisation (universalisation) versus identity politics’ contradiction (autonomisation of identities, which may lead to the radicalisation of identities). One of the main characteristics of globalisation is the universalisation of norms, culture, behaviour, institutions, system of management, and commodification of social relations. The main idea of globalisation is to make – by imposing a high degree of universalisation – the economic system smoother and more efficient. To have ‘one pattern of governance’ instead of dealing with certain patterns regionally or globally is much simpler and more efficient. Therefore, universalisation is one of the key elements to the current stage of globalisation.
At the same time, people do not like to lose their own identity, their own culture, customs, religion, or history. Therefore, the reaction to universalisation is identity politics, emerging in different forms: religious identity, gender identity, ethnic identity, and so on. Identity politics are not new, but we are entering a new phase in which these politics become dependent on expression of identity by multiple actors. These identity groups are mushrooming, pressing on the state to deliver what they think is their right. These are groups, political parties, or social movements, that can be based on culture, religion, social class or caste, culture, dialect, disability, education, ethnicity, language, nationality, sex, gender, age, occupation, profession, race, political party affiliation, sexual orientation, type of habitation, and veteran status.
In other words, new (narrowly represented) identity politics are replacing broader, society-based interest group representation. Since the state cannot react to every identity group’s interest, some of these groups radicalise. They think, “if I cannot get what I want, I should be more vocal, more radical, because then the state will listen and then the state will react”. Therefore, the next big struggle is between identity politics and universalization, which will have consequences for the state policies and state behaviour: the weaker the state, the more it is prone to react to identity politics. The state is no longer reacting to generally defined social needs; the state is reacting to the needs of rather narrow identity groups, which changes the whole dimension of state-to-citizen interaction. This will obviously lead to more social protests, because the more radical the groups, the more visible they are. This can lead to a misbalance between the state and interest groups. A classic case is that of pensioners, as result of which some states are paying more attention to pensioners than to the children.
Wealth vs. poverty
The third contradiction is ‘wealth vs. poverty’. Some basic facts from the World Bank show that out of the estimated 7.4 billion people on earth, 1.1 billion live below the poverty level, which is below $1.25 a day. Another 2.7 billion people live on less than $2 a day. This means that about 40% of our planet lives below the poverty level. The point here is well shown in the book by French economist Thomas Piketty, Capital in the twenty-first century (Piketty, 2014). His main point is that capital tends to reproduce itself. This is not a new idea; Marx also wrote about this. But Piketty shows that there is a certain ‘oligarchisation’ of capital, which means that inherited capital has the tendency to grow exponentially and at the expense of other social groups. (Piketty, 2014, pp. 463-465). Piketty’s book was followed by the Oxfam Poverty Report (2017), prepared for the conference in Davos. The report shows that there are eight men in the world with an equal amount of wealth to 3.6 billion people; those who make up the poorest half of humanity. This is shocking not in moral or ethical terms, but in terms of its possible socioeconomic consequences.
Some of the consequences of this increasing inequality include the following:
- The influence of democracy: usually we think that one vote corresponds to one person, but now it’s increasingly clear that this democratic theatre is changing into ‘one dollar = one vote. In the US we witnessed two of the most expensive elections in the history of humankind. As Jonathan Nitzan and Shimshon Bichler demonstrated in Capital as power (2009), capital is becoming political power. They put a lot of economic evidence to show the direct link between capital and political power (Nitzan and Bichler, 2009).
- Tax avoidance: The super-rich are avoiding taxes, because they are capable of keeping their profits in tax havens. This is an important point, because paying taxes is vital to maintain social stability in countries, because taxes are turned into social welfare benefits. If you’re not paying taxes, this means that those aspects of state protection will inevitably be diminished.
- Global control over the labour market: This leads to a lack of minimum wage in most countries, including the US. Statistics show that 3 million people work without a guarantee of a minimum wage. On a global scale, this is a manipulation of wages, not only a manipulation of politics.
In summary, if there is a commodification of democracy, this will lead to the end of the myth of the liberal order. This is dangerous for those who believe in this myth, who think they have some influence on politics and that their vote means something.
The state vs. the market
The fourth contradiction is an old one, between the state and the market. Economists and politicians hold a sinusoidal approach to this key issue: how the state and the market are cooperating or not cooperating; how should they relate to one another; should the state lead development or should the market. In other words, should the state or the market determine the conditions for our well-being?
Some claim, following the Keynesian approach, that the state should lead the market. The biggest projects of 1920s-1950s, such as capitalist interventionism (the New Deal), socialism, and fascism are quite similar in the way the state subordinated the market. In the 1970s and 1980s the neoliberal economic order started to dominate, leading to the market as the main stimulus for development and wealth creation. In fact, neither of these models fulfilled expectations. The crisis in 2007-2008 showed that neither the market nor the state alone can deliver what they promise. Therefore, many people around the world, from affluent and poor social groups alike, lost trust in both the state and the market.
The problem is, that if we would like the state to cooperate with the market, we need the state to be relatively strong, which is not always the case. States cannot withstand the pressure of ‘globalisation’. They become weaker and weaker. Neoliberalism led to the privatisation of many state-run services (including core state functions such as social security). Then what is the role of the state in protecting our interests as citizens? If the state cannot protect the interests of its citizens than the state apparatus is no longer needed. Why do we need political parties and parliaments, the whole expensive political machinery if they cannot secure ‘politics’ (i.e. a democratic selection of socioeconomic priorities that are guaranteed to be implemented)?
This debate between the market and the state is not only about economic forces. It’s about the future of our political system. We are no longer needed as citizens, as we are transformed into consumers (because as citizens we would like to make our own choices, not choices imposed on us by the market).
Power vs. politics
The fifth contradiction is ‘power versus politics’. We agree with Z. Bauman’s (2011) thesis that ‘power’ is currently in the process of being separated from ‘politics’. Power is the ability to fix things, to deliver, to make things happen. Politics is the process of selecting options for the power (or in terms of public administration –executive power) to be implemented. Politics is about whether we need a school or a swimming pool, whether we need more spending on the military or on schools and hospitals. Then those priorities are ‘transferred’ via a parliamentary or congressional process to the executive power, which implements them. So, there is a link between politics and power: politics comes first, power comes later (Bauman, 2011; Bauman and Bordoni, 2014).
Now this system is clearly collapsing, because there is less and less power in the hands of the state. Because of the privatisation of many state functions and because of globalisation (in the sense of internationalisation) certain state prerogatives are located somewhere else (beyond the nation state). Capital is located mostly outside the control of national governments. Therefore, the power is located outside of the nation state. So, the capacity of the state is changing, but then the state cannot cooperate with the market the way the market would ‘expect’ it to, as it has no means to meet ‘expectations of business/capital’. Therefore, the market is more dependent on external forces, than on forces located within the nation-state. Because of these processes, power and politics are separating almost to the point where they are completely independent of each other. In practice, this means that politicians and state apparatuses are now more autonomous from the market than before. Politicians are very much detached from what we would like them to be doing. We call it the ‘autonomisation of politics’. When you ask a politician why he or she does something unwise or irrational, they can simply answer ‘because I can’. The state – in many cases – is creating its own reality that may not meet social expectations (or may in fact run contrary to them).
II. Fear as substitute for politics
We will argue in this section that the consequence of the five contradictions is the emergence of a systemic fear (as in, we fear that we are no longer subjects of most processes at the various levels of government). Rather than acting as an expedient but ad hoc political tool, fear has become the de facto essence of politics. Fear now provides the impetus and reason for politics, substituting other sources of legitimation of power such as democracy, justice, and the common good. In other words, the point is that fear as politics has a transformational capacity to change politics, norms, and institutions (Dutkiewicz and Kazarinova, 2017, pp. 8-19).
Our argument is that rather than simply viewing the most recent exercise in ‘politics of fear’, (for instance, President Trump’s trade restrictions, increased migration, terrorism, etc.) we are currently witnessing the emergence of ‘fear as politics’. If we accept Zygmunt Bauman’s proposition that “politics is the ability to decide which things are to be done and given priority” (Baumann, 2013, p. 189), then three conclusions follow:
- Fear contributes to the ‘ability to decide’ as politicians use fear as a pre-condition necessary to make decisions (‘we have to do that because of immigrants, Muslims, etc.’).
- Fear also provides selection criteria for ‘things to be done’. For instance, instead of environmental or education policies, priorities would include fear-sensitive area such as national security, migration, or race relations.
- Finally, fear contributes to the content of ‘things to be done’ (for instance, if we fear immigrants then immigration policy will be quite restrictive).
Key policy areas such as migration (Huysmans, 2006); safety and security (Furedi, 2008); the labour market (Blanchflower and Shadforth, 2009); development (OXFAM, 2017); race (Ioanide, 2015); democracy (Sleeper, 2016); international relations (Taras, 2015); the environment (Ritter and Borenstein, 2016); and health and well-being are fear-driven by now (either by attempts to address fear or using it to legitimate the further empowerment of elites.
A journey from the ‘politics of fear’ to ‘fear as politics’
For Corey Robin, fear is an existential, collective state of mind that reveals a “deep truth about who we are, as political agents, as people, as a people” (Robins, 2016). In fact, under the surface, people across the globe seem to be on edge, with no region spared from a collective anxiety rooted in economic and political uncertainties, social dislocations, and security threats of all kinds and levels of intensity. In Europe, for instance, to deal with migration and economic turbulence, the political landscape (in the growth of populism and movement to the right of many mainstream parties) is quickly changing with destabilising consequences (Chatham House, 2011). In the US, the feeling that old norms of political behaviour and institutional structures will be challenged became a political platform for Donald Trump (Kuntzman, 2016). In Asia, the anxiety of ‘catching up with the West’ creates all sorts of social, political, and ecological contradictions, making regional powers less confident about the future (IMF, 2016). In Africa there are just a few countries that record economic growth and social stability amid political chaos (UNCTAD, 2016). Our point is that fear is no longer confined to one country or region; it is globalised.
As noted by Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri, fear as a political and psychological state is inseparable from the permanent state of war, which has manifested in the era of globalisation, both in the form of growing threats of regional and local military conflicts, as well as militaristic rhetoric that permeates international relations and national political discourses. As the authors wrote:
“Modern sovereignty, we should be clear, does not put an end to violence and fear but rather puts an end to civil war by organising violence and fear into a coherent and stable political order. The sovereign will be the only legitimate author of violence, both against its own subjects and against other sovereign powers. This is how the sovereign nation-state serves modernity as an answer to the problem of civil war. Today the problem of civil war reappears on a much larger, global scale. The current state of war, which has become continuous police activity that supports the regulative foundation of administration and political control, similarly demands the obedience of subjects who are plagued by violence and fear. That the problem is similar, once again, does not mean that the same solution will be effective. The reinforced sovereignty of nation-states will not succeed in putting an end to the global state of war. A new global form of sovereignty is instead necessary. This is the object, for example, of Samuel Huntington’s proposed paradigm of global civilizational conflict… Recognizing how the cold war succeeded in organizing global violence into coherent blocs and a stable order of power, Huntington seeks a similar ordering function for civilizations: civilizations will make global conflict coherent and divide nation-states into stable groups of friend and enemy. The ‘war on terrorism’ too seeks, along somewhat different lines, to organize global violence. The so-called alliance of the willing and the axis of evil designate strategies for grouping nation-states into blocs and thus making their violence coherent. None of these solutions seems to us adequate, but they at least address the problem that global civil war poses for imperial power. Once again, from this perspective, purring an end to civil war does not mean putting an end to violence and fear but rather organizing them into a coherent order and gathering them into the hands of the sovereign” (Hardt and Negri, 2004, p. 239-240).
It should be emphasised immediately that most of the statements made by Hardt and Negri were well received by the most thoughtful analysts back in late 1980s and early 1990s, when the euphoria caused by the prophecies of Francis Fukuyama about the ‘end of history’ and the ‘global triumph’ of liberalism reached its apogee. In a response to Fukuyama’s “The End of History?”, first published as an essay in the National Interest three years before the publication of the eponymous book, Allan Bloom quite reasonably expressed doubts about excessive optimism regarding the prospects for the global triumph of liberal democracy:
“Liberalism has won, but it may be decisively unsatisfactory. Communism was a mad extension of liberal rationalism, and everyone has seen that it neither works nor is desirable. And, although fascism was defeated on the battlefield, its dark possibilities were not seen through to the end. If an alternative is sought there is nowhere else to seek it. I would suggest that fascism has a future, if not the future. Much that Fukuyama says points in that direction. The facts do too. The African and Near Eastern nations, which for some reason do not succeed easily at modernity, have temptations to find meaning and self-assertion in varieties of obscurantism. The European nations, which can find no rational ground for the exclusion of countless potential immigrants from their homelands, look back to their national myths. And the American Left has enthusiastically embraced the fascist arguments against modernity and Eurocentrism-understood as rationalism. However, this may be, Fukuyama has introduced practical men to the necessity of philosophy, now that ideology is dead or dying, for those who want to interpret our very new situation” (Bloom, 1989, p. 21).
Exactly 30 years later, Krzysztof Jaskułowski, using the example of post-communist Poland, confirmed Allan Bloom’s worst fears (in particular by highlighting the rapid rise of Islamophobia in Polish political discourse): the European Union has not been able to develop a humanitarian, solidarity-based, sustainable approach to migration. As a result:
“The Islamophobic rhetoric of fear gained hegemonic status in Poland. This hegemonic Islamophobic discourse largely reproduces Orientalist ideas about Muslims, constituting a kind of pathological Europeanisation of the Polish public sphere. However, it also draws on earlier anti-Semitic ideas and substitutes a Muslim for a Jew: the figure of the Muslim plays a similar role to that of the earlier figure of the Jew, namely, it performs the function of a threatening other….Islamophobia must be understood as a complex phenomenon shaped both by right-wing hegemonic discourse and by local and transnational factors such as social remittances (i.e., stereotypes and prejudices circulating across national borders)” (Jaskułowski, 2019, pp. 6-7).
So, dangers have always existed, Zygmunt Bauman argues (2016), but today things are different. He suggests that we live in a state of “continuous uncertainty, which makes us afraid” and adds “Now.…People find themselves uneasy, lost, incapable of acting with certainty, with assurance” (Al Jazeera interview with Bauman, 2017).
Fear has an ability to become a tool that transforms state policies, making them more ‘fear sensitive’ (i.e. the ‘fearisation’ of immigration policies, the securitisation of ethnic relations, the reintroduction of trade barriers or increased public surveillance for instance). This however, does not yet, constitute what we call ‘fear as politics’. This is just a new incarnation of an old political strategy of using fear as handy tool in influencing voters. To advance our argument to the new level we need to look at fear from a different perspective. This paper’s key argument is that fear as politics has a transformational capacity to change politics, norms, and institutions. In this regards we find Bauman’s concept of ‘liquid fear’ well-suited in explaining fear’s new political capacities acquired with the rise and fall of globalisation. Let us briefly reconstruct his approach. ‘Liquid fear’, Bauman explains:
“Means fear flowing on our own court, not staying in one place but diffuse. And the trouble with liquid fear, unlike the concrete specific danger which you know and are familiar with, is that you don’t know where from it will strike.…There are no solid structures around us all on which we can rely, in which we can invest our hopes and expectations. Even the most powerful governments, very often, cannot deliver on their promise. They don’t have enough power to do so” (Al Jazeera interview with Bauman, 2017).
What has brought us to this situation is that, across the whole social and political spectrum of our societies, we feel – individually and collectively – insecure, uncertain about the future, quite impotent to face challenges, and unable to be in control. Why is this? Our answer is threefold: 1) loss of trust in both the state and market, 2) divorce of power and politics and 3) deepening (followed by the radicalisation) of the social divide along a whole spectrum of cleavages (mostly based on inequality, ideology, identity, and power). Thus, fear is becoming more systemic and omnipresent, as it is present in every facet of our lives and – simultaneously – in key institutions. These institutions (for instance, socially supportive state agencies, trade unions, service providers, NGO’s) are either no longer available or their capacity to cope with its roots has diminished.
It seems that we have entered a period of strategic instability, in which we lost most of the defensive mechanisms against frivolousness of the market and repressiveness of the state. Citizens are, step by step in the recent twenty years, stripped from the protective layers of the social (or welfare) state. Waves of privatisations stripped the state of most prerogatives that made them attractive to their citizens (Bauman, 2017). It is a mistake, however, to think that fear is the phenomenon of uncertainty, confusion, and defenselessness among the lower and middle classes. Same is the case of the upper classes, as Jonathan Nitzan and Shimshon Bichler (2010) concluded in their study of capital.
We see the rise of populism in Europe, US, Asia, and Latin America (Taylor, 2017). “Supporters of PEPs (populist extremist parties) [emphasis added] are often dismissed as political protestors, single-issue voters or economically deprived ‘losers of globalization’”, writes Matthew Goodwin in a Chatham House report (2011) on populist extreme right. “The most successful parties have rallied a coalition of economically insecure lower-middle-class citizens and skilled and unskilled manual workers…. But all of their supporters share one core feature: their profound hostility towards immigration, multiculturalism and rising cultural and ethnic diversity” (Goodwin, 2011). Providing this single, most recent, example from a pool of evidence, we are making the point that in addition to loss of trust and the divorce of power from politics, fear-based politics are becoming normalised via political parties and electoral politics.
III. State and non-state actors’ responses: The re-hegemonisation of world politics
In the last section we argued that in an environment with a high level of uncertainty and fear of the future, there is a demand (both at the economic and social levels) for more stability and predictability at any cost. These are conditions sine qua non for the smooth functioning of markets, security and planning at any level of governance (for both state and non-state actors). One of the potential solutions for state and non-state actors is to reinvent local, regional, and global hegemonies to provide at least some control over domestic and external affairs.
So, our next question is: how can hegemony be established and sustained in world politics today? The inevitable preliminary stage of the answer to this complex question should be a detailed analysis of the concepts of hegemony in historical and theoretical contexts.
What is hegemony: History and the modern political discourse
In his 1983 essay, “The three instances of hegemony in the history of the capitalist world economy”, Immanuel Wallerstein wrote:
“When one is dealing with a complex, continuously evolving, large-scale historical system, concepts that are used as short-hand descriptions for structural patterns are only useful to the degree one clearly lays out their purpose, circumscribes their applicability, and specifies the theoretical framework they presuppose and advance” (Wallerstein, 1983/2000, p. 253).
In our opinion, this remark fully relates to the transformation of the concept of hegemony in modern political thought.
Hegemony has long been a key concept within the study of IR, as well as across the social sciences more generally, and a term used by analysts to make sense of contemporary events (see Clark, 2011). However, despite the apparent clarity of what ‘hegemony’ means, we should admit that few terms are so widely used in IR and political science with so little agreement about their exact meaning. It encompasses and denotes ideas and processes that sometimes seem far from compatible with each other – from the traditional idea of the strong state to the dominance of particular ideologies – through a wide range of approaches, including hegemonic stability theory to the dialectical conceptions of hegemony and counter-hegemony in the works of Antonio Gramsci.
In his work on a comparative analysis of debates around the concept of hegemony in Russian and Western political thought, J. Lester (2000) quite rightly noted:
“Whatever else we can say about the meaning and importance of hegemony, few can deny that it is one of those terms today which is used perennially in everyday political usage, but which all too often is unaccompanied by any real, or at least sufficient, explanatory meaning. In many instances hegemony has assumed the appearance of a taken-for-granted concept, and it is precisely here that the more discerning analyst will immediately spot the irony and the paradox. At its empirical best, there is no better tool than the concept of hegemony to demystify the plethora of things around us which achieve an unwarranted and reductionist status of naturalness because of their own sheer taken-for-grantedness. Hegemony, therefore, is in danger of acquiring the very attributes of the disease which in many cases it set out to cure. Instead of demystifying, it has increasingly become embalmed in its own mystificatory logic” (Lester, 2000, p. 3).
As if pre-preemptively answering the question about the striking polysemantic nature of the term ‘hegemony’ in modern political discourse, Lester writes:
“I suppose one aspect of the fear which can be generated by the mere mention of the term hegemony might feasibly relate to some kind of intrinsic conceptual complexity. Certainly, many of the specialist political and philosophical dictionaries which include the term are apt to refer explicitly to its difficulties of comprehension and understanding, although quite why this is the case is never properly explained. On the other hand, one should also recognise that there are many others who go to the opposite extreme, emphasising and indeed celebrating the concept’s unusual simplicity. If there is any intrinsic complexity about hegemony, these analysts would argue, it is not so much to be found in its theoretical construction, so much as in its practical, realisable attainability. Paraphrasing Bertolt Brecht, there is undeniably a sense in which hegemony (like Brecht’s ‘communism’) is one of those simple things which anyone can grasp, yet because of its very simplicity, that is why it is so difficult to achieve” (Lester, 2000, p. 1).
Of course, not all scientists and theorists are so critical. For example, in the famous dictionary of Roger Scruton, two of the most common and generally accepted interpretations of hegemony in social sciences are presented and listed:
“Hegemony. Greek: hegemon, a chief or ruler. Term used since the nineteenth century to denote the influence of one state over others; hence ‘hegemonism’, which describes the politics of those powers that cow their neighbours and dependents into submission. In political thought the term is now as often used in the sense given to it by Gramsci, in which it denotes the ascendancy of a class, not only in the economic sphere, but through all social, political and ideological spheres, and its ability thereby to persuade other classes to see the world in terms favourable to its own ascendancy. Gramsci advocated the construction of a rival hegemony, through the infiltration and transformation of those small-scale institutions by which class ascendancy, once achieved, is sustained. This struggle for hegemony is seen as a transforming factor as important as any development of productive forces, and corresponds to Lenin’s ‘subjective conditions’ for revolution” (Scruton, 2007, p. 295).
Although the first interpretation designated by Scruton is widespread in modern political theory and international relations, and the second – in various political theories and systems of political philosophy, due to the internal methodological relatedness of these theories, the ‘internal’ and ‘external’ aspects of the analysis of hegemony are constantly in the process of creative interaction. Emphasising this relationship, Hartmut Behr, the author of A history of international political theory: Ontologies of the international, noted:
“I do not immediately sympathize here with one or the other mode – universal, universalistic, or particularistic – however, it seems important to elaborate their ontological differences as well as their respective epistemological consequences. It is especially with regard to those consequences that these differences become crucial because they dramatically influence the way of our thinking about and conceptualizing political order among states as well as dealing with current world problems. I will develop the argument that, whereas universal and universalistic thinking, even if it might be controversial with regard to distinct tenets, founds the possibility for international and intercultural dialogue and for agency across political bodies, particularistic thinking operates as a solipsistic discourse with which one can associate, or not. Particularistic ontology, on which universalizations regardless of their intentions are based, creates, in its epistemological consequence, dualistic worldviews” (Behr, 2010, p. 10).
All interpretations are somehow derived from the universal nature of politics and the very phenomenon of the political. It is on this basis that, of course, multiple trends and contradictions are formed, which modern scholars call the ‘hegemonic paradox’.
Today, hegemony seems to be the political principle in terms of which most advanced democracies work. Whether expressed as an ideal of ‘statecraft’ or as one of ‘strong and decisive government’, representative democracy more and more resembles a superpower for constructing the ‘home’ of ‘the people’ in, and through, ‘big’ politicians’ ability to decide on what has to be done to overcome resistance in the face of antagonism. Sometimes actual governing will require breaks with the law and destabilisation of existing institutions in order to get things done. Governmentality means blending concerns for order and disorder between and on various levels to guarantee appropriate governance in the face of multiple, reinforcing cleavages of, say, class, gender, culture, religion and ethnicity. For example, does the increasing concern for hegemony indicate that democracies are developing ‘despotic’ traits and uncoupling dynasteia from government by truth? According to Bang (2015):
“However, this disagreement is not one that could be resolved through rational argument because it involves power relations. Hence the antagonistic element in the relation. However, the antagonistic element can never be made to disappear in this conception of the political, since in the signature of hegemony there is no substantial articulation between violence and law, or life and norm… So, the signature of hegemony extends beyond the radical critique of consensus democracy. It is inscribed into the heart of consensus democracy itself, with the figure of the king as the instrument and medium of removing disorder from democracy’s underlying general order. Command/obedience is the political relationship which manifests the signature of hegemony as a mode of legitimate domination, and which separates the king from his subjects ‘out there’ in society. This is, in a way, the irony at play in the battle between hegemony and democracy, the particular and the universal: they are simply each other’s mirror image” (Bang, 2015, pp. 24-25, 27).
One of the reasons for the ‘simplicity’ of the concept of hegemony, which is so definitely indicated by Lester, is the fact that when it was conceived of during classical antiquity, it was clear both in a purely etymological and conceptual sense. In Ancient Greek the word ἡγεμονία is derived from the verb ἡγέομαι – to direct, to lead, to introduce. By the time of the Peloponnesian War the noun ἡγεμών was used to designate a leader, chief, general or the city in a leading position within the alliance of Greek city-states. However, the polysemantic nature of the term ‘hegemony’ already existed in ancient Greek political reflection:
“Thucydides distinguished between hēgemonia and archē, both of which are most frequently translated as hegemony. For fifth- and fourth-century Greeks, hēgemonia was associated with timē—the gift of honor. Timē was bestowed informally by free consent of the Greek community as reward for achievements, and retained by consent, not by force. Sparta and Athens were so honored because of their contributions during the Persian Wars. Athens also earned timē because her intellectual and artistic accomplishments made her the ‘school of Hellas’. Archē connoted something akin to our notion of political control, and initially applied to authority within a city state and only later to rule or influence over city states. The semantic field of archē was gradually extended to encompass tyranny… Thucydides offers the political equivalent of what would become Newton’s third law of motion: an archē is likely to expand until checked by an opposite and equal force. Imperial overextension – dunamis beyond that reasonably sustained by kratos—constitutes a serious drain on capabilities, especially when it involves an archē in a war the regime can neither win nor settle for a compromise peace for fear of being perceived as weak at home and abroad” (Lebow, 2007, p. 356, p.387).
In the discipline of IR the term ‘hegemony’ is still in a sense directly borrowed from this period of antiquity, referring to a single state that is dominant militarily, economically, and diplomatically. In the modern social sciences, regardless of the level of analysis – scientific or philosophical – the concept of hegemony is commonly used to characterise global processes that determine the main trends of modern world politics, economics, and cultural development. For example, in the complex interdisciplinary approach of Wallerstein’s ‘world-system’ analysis, the concept of hegemony plays a key role. It is opposed to the concept of ‘world-empire’, the main characteristic of which is:
“The capacity to transform this interstate system into a single world-empire whose boundaries would match that of the axial division of labor… Hegemony in the interstate system refers to that situation in which the ongoing rivalry between the so-called ‘great powers’ is so unbalanced that one power can largely impose its rules and its wishes (at the very least by effective veto power) in the economic, political, military, diplomatic, and even cultural arenas. The material base of such power lies in the ability of enterprises domiciled in that power to operate more efficiently in all three major economic arenas – agro-industrial production, commerce, and finance… Hegemony therefore is not a state of being but rather one end of a fluid continuum which describes the rivalry relations of great powers to each other” (Wallerstein, 1983 /2000, pp. 254-255).
After the Second World War – and especially after the ‘velvet revolutions’ in Central and Eastern Europe and the collapse of the USSR – only the United States actually claimed the role of world hegemon. It is this kind of assertion of power that political theorists associated with the concept of ‘hegemonic world order’. The meaning of this concept at the beginning of the 21st century was explained in some detail by Habermas:
“The war in Iraq is a link in the chain of a new global political order that justifies itself as the replacement for the ineffectual human rights politics of an exhausted world organization. The USA becomes, so to speak, the trustee for the role in which the UN failed. What speaks against it? Moral feelings can lead us astray because they are tied to specific scenes and images. There is no way around the question of how to justify the war as such. The key disagreement is over whether justification through international law can and should be replaced by the unilateral, world-ordering politics of a self-appointed hegemon” (Habermas 2004/2006, p. 33).
In the era of globalisation, the tendency to create a unipolar world under the auspices of the United States actually and terminologically brings together the concepts of ‘hegemony’ and ‘global management’. As Noam Chomsky notes:
“The basic missions of global management have endured from the early postwar period, among them: containing other centers of global power within the ‘overall framework of order’ managed by the United States; maintaining control of the world’s energy supplies; barring unacceptable forms of independent nationalism; and overcoming ‘crises of democracy’ within domestic enemy territory. The missions assume different forms, notably in periods of fairly sharp transition: the changes in the international economic order from about 1970; the restoration of the superpower enemy to something like its traditional quasi-colonial status twenty years later; the threat of international terrorism aimed at the United States itself from the early 1990s, shockingly consummated on 9-11. Over the years, tactics have been refined and modified to deal with these shifts, progressively ratcheting up the means of violence and driving our endangered species closer to the edge of catastrophe… The new global order was to be subordinated to the needs of the US economy and subject to US political control as much as possible” (Chomsky, 2003, p. 14, p. 99).
The situation is beginning to change quite significantly though. This is evidenced by a wide discussion, as O’Keefe (2018 explains):
“…in the media and academic circles on the purported decline of U.S. hegemony in the Western Hemisphere that coincided with the start of the twenty-first century. These assertions blossomed following the September 2001 terrorist attacks in the United States, as the administration of George W. Bush concentrated its attention on eliminating Al Qaeda and other extremist Islamist cells in Afghanistan, the Middle East, and Somalia” (O’Keefe, 2018. p. 1).
The judgments expressed on this subject are ambiguous and highly contradictory:
“Yet while many observers think U.S. capability is in decline at the global level, that is not what our data and analysis reveal regarding the Persian Gulf. We find that American capability, which should not be conflated with influence, has increased significantly in the past few decades at the military, economic, and political levels, with some important qualifications. Despite many challenges, America is a hegemon inasmuch as it has predominant capabilities toward and in the Gulf that are unavailable to other states in their entirety” (Yetiv and Oskarsson 2018. p. 1).
Nevertheless, these discussions as a whole cannot significantly change the nature of modern interpretations of hegemony, especially in those aspects that link the problems of hegemonic order with globalisation.
So, hegemony is relevant to world politics as well as at the local and national levels. Much of modern society involves significant cross-border flows: for example, of goods, knowledge, money, people, pollutants, and violence. Like social relations within countries, transboundary connections attract governance: that is, regimes that aim to bring regularity, predictability, and controlled change to society. When world order is achieved through legitimated rule by a dominant power, we can say that international or global hegemony is in play. Different theories offer different propositions about what kind of dominant power can achieve hegemony in world politics. Jan A. Scholte (2011) suggested a useful taxonomy of theoretical approaches to study hegemony. For instance, liberal and realist theories of international relations argue that hegemony lies with a dominant state. In this case, a particular government controls a preponderance of material resources, sponsors international regimes, and promotes values and visions that have deep appeal beyond its borders. Using this approach, Britain and the US are identified as having been hegemonic states in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, respectively. Many liberals and realists also ponder whether China is destined to be the next hegemonic state.
In contrast, neo-Gramscian theories locate world hegemony in global capitalism and a transnational capitalist class. From this perspective, dominant rule-making power for world order lies with surplus accumulation and its main agents, such as multinational corporations, core states (the G7/G20), global governance institutions, and orthodox think-tanks. For neo-Gramscians, hegemonic forces promote the legitimated rule of capital on a global scale, whereas the counter-hegemonic forces of various resistance movements (e.g. of landless peasants and urban poor) seek to delegitimate and dismantle the dominant power of global capital.
Neo-Gramscians seek to provide a critical theoretical route to hegemony, which recognizes that hegemony filters through structures of society, culture, gender, ethnicity, class, and ideology. Through the much proclaimed “post- hegemonic” research agenda, the neo- Gramscian school seeks to challenge and critique mainstream IR/IPE scholarship, including, ipso facto, the latter’s relegation of questions of inequality, poverty, race, gender, and class, to a tenuous and inhospitable space at the margins of the discipline. However, neo-Gramscian engagement with such concerns remains highly circumscribed. Not only has much neo-gramscian scholarship reproduced the silencing of such (constitutive) concerns, mirroring, for example, the patriarchy, Eurocentrism, and (Western) cultural underpinnings of mainstream IR/IPE, but in the advancement of allegedly progressive Western ideas or ideologies, it is at further risk of co-optation (Ayers, 2008, p. 16).
In poststructuralist theories, hegemony in world politics resides with a ruling knowledge frame (variously called a ‘discourse’ or an ‘episteme’). Here, supreme power in world society lies with a certain language and consciousness. Post-structuralists often identify Enlightenment rationality as the hegemonic knowledge regime of modernity, as produced through science, education, mass communications, and so on. Many such theorists also highlight neoliberal governmentality (with its discourse of “market civilisation”) and securitisation (with its discourse of risk) as more specific variants of Enlightenment knowledge that rule world politics today. Hegemony arises inasmuch as subjects willingly underwriting these reigning mindsets as truth.
For post-colonial theories, hegemony in world politics is a question of embracing (or counter-hegemonically resisting) the dominance of Western imperialism and associated social hierarchies of class, gender, geography, race, religion, and sexuality. Imperial hegemony classically operated through colonial rule by one state over external territories. Nowadays, neo-colonial rule occurs through ‘independent’ states in league with outside forces such as donor governments, multilateral institutions, and nongovernmental organisations (NGOs). Again, the hegemonic quality of the dominance entails that (neo-) colonially subordinated subjects believe that imperial power exerts rightful rule over them: e.g. when people of colour internalise racism. On the other hand, counter-hegemony arises for post-colonialists when social movements (of indigenous peoples, LGBTQ+, women, etc.) challenge an empire.
Against the background of the theories outlined above, modern conceptual versions of political realism look traditional and quite conservative.
“For Realists of various shades, the prevalence of an anarchic international system has had the inevitable result of conceiving of power not only in terms of resources, but very tangible sources of power: military might, geostrategic location, natural resources, economic strength, population, and the like. Realism emphasized what Susan Strange has called ‘relational power’ – power which comes from relations between states – at the cost of structural power. The dominance of ‘rationality’ as it has been taken from economics, has played up the notion that action is exclusively the pursuit of material gain or the avoidance of material loss or costs. Yet rational choice is often incapable of explaining action taken simply because of asymmetries of power. Nor can it explain contradictory decisions or actions since rational choice tends to assume that entities are driven by a single objective or purpose. The tendency to strictly think about power as resources is also largely due to the heavy hand of hegemonic stability theory and the related debate about hegemonic decline” (Dunn and Shaw 2001, p. 65).
Brian Schmidt (2019) underlines that “Realist theories of hegemony are notorious for their tendency to conflate hegemony with overwhelming material power. Thus, the propensity to equate unipolarity with hegemony” (Brian Schmidt, unpublished paper for ECNY/DOC Conference in Shanghai, April, 2019). Left aside are issues of leadership and relations that makes one unit subordinate to the other. Those aspects of hegemony are well covered by liberal theories of hegemonic stability (i.e. Ikenberry) with a key focus on why and how a successful hegemon is fostering liberal economic order. Liberal hegemony, according to liberals, rests more on consensus than on coercion. According to liberal theorists, the form and character of the leadership exercised by the hegemon makes all the difference in the world. In sum, multiple readings of hegemony in world politics are available. As pointed out by Schmidt (2019), hegemony is a multifaceted and complex concept. It means different things to different scholars. There are, however some common themes that emerge from the literature review. There are two principal components of hegemony: preponderant power and the exercise of leadership. Some theories of hegemony simply accentuate the preponderant power component of hegemony while most theories emphasise, in different degrees, both components.
We have already argued that the two different meanings of hegemony are not entirely divided between the studies of international politics and the other social sciences.
“Outside the unique discourse of world-systems research, hegemony has found considerable debate within wider Marxist audiences and subsequently within post-structuralism. Here it is understood primarily in terms of class relations and is often confined to a process that legitimizes a particular mode of production. While the general conundrum here is to understand how capitalism sustains its social relations, the solution is that it provides a vision where a form of ideology can be built to accompany a socialist form of production. V. I. Lenin, for example, understood hegemony as a political process through which the working class could gain supremacy over the bourgeoisie. For Lenin, the phase is often associated with the notion of ‘dictatorship of the proletariat’, a strategy that became synonymous with the early years of the Soviet Union, whereby the state would act in a manner that would provide rule on behalf of the proletariat” (Worth, 2015, p. 4).
Hegemonic power is based on both coercion and consent, and hegemony is crucially underpinned by shared norms and values:
“The concept of hegemony is normally understood as emphasizing consent in contrast to reliance on the use of force. It describes the way in which dominant social groups achieve rulership or leadership on the basis of attaining social cohesion and consensus. It argues that the position of the ruling group is not automatically given, but rather that it requires the ruling group to attain consent to its leadership through the complex construction of political projects and social alliances” (Joseph, 2002, p. 1).
Thus, hegemons must constantly legitimise their power to other states. In periods of strategic change, the most important political dynamics centre on this bargaining process, conceived of as the negotiation of a social compact.
“In classical antiquity one can see the various kinds of hegemony easily. For example, there was real difference between hegemony – the ability of the Romans to command obedience on the basis of a real or implied military threat – and the later phenomenon of empire hegemony, which demonstrated that Roman imperium was not the result of the sudden imposition of geographically defined provinces or permanent armies. Rather, the integration of the Greek world into a Roman imperial system was a complex process of evolution, requiring mutual adaptation by both Romans and Greeks” (Kallet-Marx, 1996; Wesson, 2008).
In this regard, the concept of hegemony can easily be brought closer to the concept of law – be it Roman law or modern European law – even if the idea of law is used to legitimise colonial politics. As emphasised by John and Jean Comaroff:
“It has become commonplace to note the centrality of law in the colonization of the non-European world: commonplace to assert ‘its’ role in the making of new Eurocentric hegemonies, in the creation of colonial subjects, in the rise of various forms of resistance. In all this, the subject of rights, and the rights of subjects, has been a recurrent theme. The reasons are not hard to find, as we have been told repeatedly by historians of modernity. They have to do with the forging of the nation-state, conceived as a moral community, in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries; specifically, with its reliance on a culture of legality-built on rights of person and property, of constitutionality and contract in imagining the body politic. At its core was the modernist self: the familiar figure of the right-bearing, responsible, ‘free’ individual whose very condition of possibility was the nation-state itself” (Comaroff and Comaroff, 1997, p. 365).
Of course, in both classical antiquity and today, situations arise within which the contradictions between law and so-called ‘Realpolitik’ often seemed insurmountable. This was connected, on the one hand, with the process of degradation of statehood in various regions of the world, and on the other hand, with the hegemonic claims of the strong powers practicing interventionist policies under various pretexts.
Yet it remains a well-known fact that interventions are a persistent feature of international relations. How is the jurist to react to this phenomenon? Any response must question received ideas of law and not merely offer reasons for, or causes of, the illegality of state conduct. For instance, it is, in my view, incongruous to write as Noel does in his review of the issue that the explanation of the contradiction between law and practice escapes the scope of the law. Noel identifies the problem of regional powers consistently seeking regional hegemony, to say the very least, but he leaves this fact in the air. He doubts whether many Latin American states are worthy of the name, given the extent to which they are economically and culturally penetrated by the United States. Yet he reaffirms the absolute nature of the duty of non-intervention as confirmed by contemporary international law in spite of the practice which he describes. How has a conventional rule of law come into existence despite the admitted determination of superpowers to disregard it consistently, particularly as it applies so frequently to entities which are clearly already penetrated by powers greater than themselves”? (Forbes and Hoffman, eds., 1993, p. 13).
As noted above, in the 20th century, the decisive role in rethinking the modern concept of hegemony belongs to Antonio Gramsci, the Italian Marxist and one of the founders of the Italian Communist Party. Modern scholars constantly emphasise the existence of complex relationships between ideological discourses and the very process of hegemony in various societies. It is not by chance that the ideological component plays a decisive role in the Gramscian concept of hegemony. According to Beth Titchiner:
“…While on the one hand, as Adorno argues, it is the collective affirmation of ideology that ‘quotes it into existence’ on a social level, on the other hand this would not be possible without individual subjects choosing to enact and seek affirmation for their violent epistemic cognition. This view is also affirmed by Gramsci, who argued that the ideology of one group cannot be simply imposed upon others. Rather, the alliance of others must be won through their consent. Without such consent, an ideology cannot grow from being perceived as the delusion of a small number of individuals to a hegemonic social ideology [italics are ours PD, VG] that is accepted by a significant proportion of a society as ‘common sense’” (Titchiner, 2019, p. 88).
For Gramsci, hegemony involved the unification of habitus, ideology, and practice:
“The active man-in-the-mass has a practical activity, but has no clear theoretical consciousness of his practical activity, which nonetheless involves understanding the world in so far as it transforms it. His theoretical consciousness can indeed be historically in opposition to his activity. One might almost say that he has two theoretical consciousnesses (or one contradictory consciousness): one which is implicit in his activity and one which in reality unites him and all his fellow-workers in the practical transformation of the real world; and one, superficially explicit or verbal, which he has inherited from the past and uncritically absorbed” (Gramsci, 1971, p. 333).
However, for Gramsci, hegemony also provided the basis for class harmonisation. It is the collection of ideas and the mindset that allows for the subordination of one class by another. It consists of a set of norms and common assumptions legitimised with the aid of social and cultural agents, and as a result it rests on a set of key principles that go far beyond mere ideology. Included here are the primacy of religion, the cultivation of national myths, and the formation of what Gramsci defined as common sense. That is the set of materially constructed practices considered to be logical in nature (Worth, 2015, pp. 4-5). Hegemony becomes, therefore, “that part of a dominant ideology that has been naturalized and, having contrived a tangible world in its image, does not appear to be ideological at all” (Comaroff and Comaroff, 1992, p. 29).
The reason for the close connection of the Gramscian theory of hegemony with the traditional ideological discourse is quite transparent. It emerged in 1920s and 1930s when classical ideologies that were formed under the influence of the French Revolution – liberalism, conservatism, and socialism – were on the brink of a deep crisis and later played an important role in shaping various versions of ideological and cultural syntheses. As Kurt Jacobsen rightly notes, “The Gramscian/critical theory approach makes one, or should make one, exquisitely aware of the material basis of ideology, sensitive to contests to control the political context, and attunes one to the social construction of reality without capitulating to relativist drivel or a fetishism of ideas” (Jacobsen, 2017, p. 60).
Gramsci was keen to account for the definitive role that culture played in legitimising and sustaining capitalism and its exploitation of the working classes. In our own context of extreme economic inequality, Gramsci’s question is still pressing: how and why do ordinary working folks come to accept a system where wealth is produced by their collective labour and energies but appropriated by only a few individuals at the top? The theory of hegemony suggests that the answer to this question is not simply a matter of direct exploitation and control by the capitalist class. Rather, this concept of hegemony posits that power is maintained through ongoing, ever-shifting cultural processes of winning the consent of the governed; that is, ordinary people like you and me. In other words, if we want to really understand why and how phenomena like inequality and exploitation exist, we have to attend to the particular, contingent, and often contradictory ways in which culture gets mobilised to forward the interests and power of the ruling classes.
According to Gramsci, there was not one ruling class, but rather a historical bloc: “a moving equilibrium” of “class interests and values” (Wilson, 2019, pp. 151-160). In the late 1970s, Harold Entwistle quite convincingly proved that the concept of Gramsci’s socialist hegemony in the face of opposition to the fascist radicals gradually acquired a rather bright conservative tinge, primarily in the field of educational theory:
“There is no doubt that Gramsci was primarily concerned with radical socio-political change and his work ought to be especially relevant for radicals committed to counter-hegemonic educational activity. It is also true that the notion of hegemony is central to Gramsci’s social theory, and that he recognised the school, amongst other institutions of civil society, as an instrument of political hegemony. From this it tends to be inferred that Gramsci saw the substitution of working-class for middle-class hegemony resulting from a social revolution based upon a radical reform of schools, especially their curriculum and pedagogical processes. But, paradoxically, Gramsci’s prescriptions for curriculum and teaching method are essentially conservative… The paradox is only underlined by the fact that Gramsci’s fascist adversaries seemed to be speaking the language of progressive education. Hence, one implication in his educational writings is that progressive education has intimations of political authoritarianism, whilst a ‘back to basics’ educational emphasis, contrary to assumptions that this is a reactionary movement which ought to be resisted by liberal educationists, is an essential requirement for development of that temper of mind on which radical social criticism depends. In the light of Gramsci’s analysis, it is arguable that we need to reconsider the conventional equation of traditional, didactic schooling with political authoritarianism, and of progressive education with democracy; it should give us pause before we dismiss as reactionary and fascist the current criticisms of the excesses of progressive education” (Entwistle, 2010, pp. 1-2).
The nature of this paradox can only be explained on the premise that adherence to historical traditions in their most diverse understanding constitutes the core of both classical ideologies and types of hegemony that are formed on their basis. For example, Michael Freeden, in his book Liberal languages, specifically emphasises that modern liberalism as an ideology – formulating and defending the principles that at its core (liberty, individuality, progress, rationality, a constant support for the general good, accountable and restricted power) – can be understood as a conservative modelling tool by which universal foundational rules are formed for a fair and free society. Rules that, in particular, allow each individual to honestly and equally strive towards their chosen life plan (Freeden, 2005, pp. 137, 28).
In this capacity, both the classical liberal and the Gramscian concept of hegemony constitute a sharp contrast to the tendencies towards the formation of various neoliberal versions of the world hegemonic order, adherents of which relied not on the principle of legitimately expressed consent, but on manipulative technologies both at the international level and in the field of domestic policy. For neoliberal orders in the West (as well as in many post-communist countries) the hegemony of elite groups is realised through active use of media technologies, the immediate result of which is the emergence of a situation of manipulative consensus. Its followers constantly insist that traditional ideologies have exhausted themselves and a new era of ‘post-ideology’ will replace them. These new trends, bearing a clear threat to democracy, are well analysed in the works of Anthony DiMaggio. As he notes:
“Business groups did not overtly dominate the news, but business power was felt in more subtle ways. Near-monopolization of the news by government officials translated in a roundabout way into a bias in favor of business interests, in that journalists, op-ed writers, editors, and pundits operated within a political – economic system that was increasingly hostile to organized labor and – minimum wage raises, even if raises do occasionally occur. A pro-government bias, then, translated into an implicit pro-business bias in the national deliberation over the minimum wage. Because of government dominance of the news, some viewpoints were largely excluded from discussion… The Social Security and tax cut debates were not dominated by business figures, but hegemonic bias was apparent nonetheless… Because of the rightward drift of American politics, tax cuts have become a priority, rather than expanding government services through increased tax revenues and spending. This framework suggests that a hegemonic mindset, one favoring lower taxes for the wealthy, is increasingly driving political discourse… Journalists fell in line with a mindset embraced by political officials that the public should not generally be seen or heard from in public policy debates. The public plays a participatory role in elections, but for policy deliberation their input is deemed of minimal importance. This extremely limited conception of ‘democracy’ – if one could call it that—treats the public as a passive force, to be guided by political elites… Did a hegemonic bias in the news mean that the public consistently fell victim to pro-business views and elite opinions, with mass consent simply being ‘manufactured’? I see little evidence that this is the case. Certainly, at times the public is indoctrinated into supporting pro-business positions that favor the wealthy over the masses. Americans could be classified as semi-independent of the partisan political system [emphasis added]. At times, the messages of political officials (in the news) exercised a significant impact on public opinion. At other times, the public rejected those messages when they did not match their own preferences and interests. The public’s rejection of official agendas is more likely to occur regarding issues in which citizens have significant prior knowledge and experience, as the examples of Social Security and Medicare reform suggest” (DiMaggio 2017, pp. 60, 88 – 90; 229-230).
Of course, the formation of a new hegemonic manipulative order constantly faces on a sharp opposition from many Western intellectuals. As Freeden notes:
“The notion of a ‘post-ideological’ age is itself a masking device – a screen constructed by those who are intent on waving good bye to macro-ideologies that might attain a life of their own and thus threaten agency – rich conceptions of human initiative and control; by those who wish stealthily to move into that ostensible vacuum in order to set up their own anti-utopian – yet at the same time unattainable – vision of hegemony; as well as by those who still adhere to a strong anti-intellectualism in which ideas are marginal epiphenomena” (Freeden, 2004, p. 11).
Within the framework of the ‘anti-colonial ideological discourse’, Gramsci’s ideas were substantiated by Edward Said (1978/1994), who developed the concept of ‘counter-hegemony’ (Said, 1978/1994, pp. 31, 49-50, 237, 249, 266).
The notion of counter-hegemony is one that has been used increasingly to understand a process that confronts the central principles of a hegemonic order. As a term, it seems to provide a number of different potential outcomes. As a concept, it has been associated principally with Gramsci, though it is not one that Gramsci himself used (Worth, 2015, p. 147).
In their work Literature, memory, hegemony. East/West crossings, P.G. Sharmani and N.O. Pagan emphasise:
“In the aftermath of Edward Said’s groundbreaking work, Orientalism (1978), which demonstrated the ways in which imperial and colonial hegemony is deeply implicated in discursive and textual productions, these debates continue to raise the important questions—how do we perceive those different from us? What are the rhetorical strategies, narrative modes, tropes, discursive formations, spatial metaphors, and procedures of labelling that have been mobilised in processes of naming and othering? What are the effects of such representations? How can critical knowledge from the humanities contribute to the elaboration of strategies for more dialogic and inclusive processes of East-West interaction”? (Sharmani and Pagan, 2018. pp. 2-3).
In Culture and Imperialism Said addressed these questions:
“After the period of ‘primary resistance’, literally fighting against outside intrusion, there comes the period of secondary, that is ideological resistance, when efforts are made to reconstitute a ‘shattered community, to save or restore the sense and fact of community against all the pressures of the colonial system’, as Basil Davidson puts it… This basis is found, I believe, in the rediscovery and repatriation of what have been suppressed in the native past by the processes of imperialism” (Said, 1978/1994, pp. 209-210).
Despite constant attempts to pit Gramiscian and neo-Gramiscian concepts of hegemony against their various interpretations in the field of international relations, recently, a more constructive approach has become increasingly common in political theory, supporters of which consider it quite possible to combine diverse interpretations within the framework of the ‘integral theory’ of hegemony. For example, as noted by Worth:
“The argument that a Gramscian or neo-Gramscian hegemony cannot be understood at the international or the global level is debatable… The sheer depth of Gramsci’s understanding of hegemony can be applied to a global political system that has been inspired by the USA and by class interests at a transnational level. The ways in which hegemony has been constructed and articulated differ not just across borders but also across societies more generally. Therefore, a theory of hegemony at the global level needs to look first at how world order is constructed both through ideology and through state-led initiatives; and then, second, look at the various ways it is articulated and reproduced across international society. This provides wide opportunities for students of global politics to look for innovative empirical studies in order to expand on the variety of socio-cultural ways in which hegemony develops across the different layers of civil society “(Worth, 2015, p.174).
At the same time, it should be noted that attempts to develop an integral version of hegemony were made almost from the moment this concept was introduced into political and international discourses, gradually becoming increasingly well-reasoned. The starting point for the formation of this approach is quite clear: any concept of hegemony (including its purely negative interpretations) can theoretically be considered only as another, often secondary, attempt to solve or overcome the complex dilemma of violence and consent inherent in any political order. As Robert Keohane rightly pointed out:
“The theory of hegemonic stability is thus suggestive but by no means definitive. Concentrated power alone is not sufficient to create a stable international economic order in which cooperation flourishes, and the argument that hegemony is necessary for cooperation is both theoretically and empirically weak. If hegemony is redefined as the ability and willingness of a single state to make and enforce rules, furthermore, the claim that hegemony is sufficient for cooperation becomes virtually tautological… Hegemonic leadership can help to create a pattern of order. Cooperation is not antithetical to hegemony; on the contrary, hegemony depends on a certain kind of asymmetrical cooperation, which successful hegemons support and maintain” (Keohane, 1984, pp. 37-38, 49).
Power has always been highly contextual: dominance, identity, and resistance are key themes in every political discourse. That is why it is important to note that the phenomenon of hegemony is firmly situated in a context of communication and inextricably linked to the language of politics. In this regard, Perry Anderson’s thoughts are particularly relevant:
“If hegemony were either just cultural authority or coercive power, the concept would be superfluous: there are many clearer names for each. Its persistence as a term is due to its combining of them, and the range of possible ways it can do so. Classically, it has always implied something more than simple might. That surplus has often become detached, as if exhausting its meaning. The reason is no mystery. In every age the language of politics is prone to euphemism, power sought or power obtained resisting any full exposure of itself. Reduced to a form of consensus, hegemony can lend itself to this, though a lingering sense that it may include another signification can make it suspect, as the oscillations and reservations that have marked its reception in the United States bear witness”. (Anderson, 2017a, p. 181).
Therefore, the idea itself – ‘one nation, one concept of hegemony’, will probably never claim priority and look convincing. Interpreting hegemony will always be a political act and its linguistic-political dimension will always demonstrate how those in power, or desiring power, deploy language in order to achieve their aims.
III. Conclusions: How is world hegemony practiced?
Analysing various aspects of the theoretical interpretation of hegemony and the emerging hegemonic orders, we can draw two principal conclusions:
- Hegemony combines: (a) concentrated control of material resources; (b) leadership in setting societal rules; and (c) mind-sets which convince people that the dominant power rules in their interests. So, crucially, hegemony involves legitimacy, whereby the dominated embrace their domination.
- Hegemony is relevant to world politics as well as in the local and national arenas. Much of modern society involves significant cross-border flows: for example, of goods, knowledge, money, people, pollutants, and violence. Like social relations within countries, transboundary connections attract governance: that is, regimes that aim to bring regularity, predictability, and controlled change to society. When world ordering is achieved through legitimated rule by a dominant power, we can say that international or global hegemony is in play.
In addition to elaborating different conceptions of hegemony in world politics, there are various techniques that hegemonic forces that can be deployed to secure their legitimated rule. How is world hegemony made and sustained? And by what means can counter-hegemonic forces contest it?
Yet, rather than assemble a long-disjointed list of particular tools, perhaps one can helpfully distinguish several broad categories of (counter-) hegemonic practices in world politics.
A fourfold typology – developed by Jan A. Scholte – of material, discursive, institutional, and performative techniques can be helpful in this regard (Schmidt, 2019). The distinctions are drawn for analytical convenience, of course: the four aspects tend to overlap and combine in concrete actions.
- Materially speaking, a dominant power deploys economic resources to obtain legitimate rule. These resources can be tangible, such as raw materials, manufacturing, or military forces. Money and finance can also figure crucially, as witnessed by the hegemonic use of the US dollar, bank loans, overseas ‘aid’, and so on. Nowadays the material aspect of hegemony also involves controlling and setting rules for the digital economy of data and images. ‘Realists’ in particular equate hegemony with overwhelming material power represented by the hegemonic state. This approach is focused on the notion and scope of “power”. As Schmidt reflected:
Power, according to this view, is synonymous with capabilities, and the capabilities of a state represent nothing more than the sum total of a number of loosely identified national attributes including “size of population and territory, resource endowment, economic capability, military strength, political stability and competence” (Schmidt, 2019, p. 3).
Another example of material hegemonic strategy is the use (and misuse) of the US dollar as a ‘hegemonic’ (global or indispensable) currency. Many experts continue to see it – despite a slight decline in importance in recent decades – as the reliable store of value and domination. According to Randal Germain, the main reasons for such persistency are “the centrality of US financial and stock markets in the global financial system; the role of US multinational firms in international transactions; the global reach of the US alliance system; the paramount political position of the US in international relations; and the central role of the dollar in foreign exchange markets (Germain, 2019, p.1).
- With discursive practices, hegemony secures legitimated dominance in world politics through the use of language and meaning. Willing subordination – according to Jan Scholte – is achieved with semantic signifiers (e.g. ‘community’, ‘democracy’, and ‘justice’) that construct the supreme force to be good. Similarly, narratives (e.g. of ‘transparency’, ‘development’, and ‘security’) spin positive storylines to legitimate a structure of domination, as do hegemonic accounts of history. In short, hegemonic discourses construct consciousness (‘regimes of truth’) in which the dominated genuinely believe that their domination is a good thing. Elena Chebankova (2019) writes:
Hegemony is achieved mainly via the ability of a particular civilisation to invoke a positive response to its core values in the rest of the world, to become a metaphysical inspiration, an example to follow, and a rival to envy. In Fichtean terms, it is the ability to produce and advance a specific Kultur (culture, ideology, and metaphysical environment) that could have a claim on discursive hegemony, establish a specific ‘regime of truth’, and produce specific knowledge that satisfies public curiosity, ignorance, and doubt.
- With institutional practices, hegemonic forces establish and control the organisational apparatuses that generate the rules of legitimated domination. On the one hand, these mechanisms include bodies that formulate and administer official rules (on local, national, regional, and global scales). On the other hand, world hegemony operates through more informally governing institutions such as civil society organisations, foundations, and think tanks, which figure centrally in the production of ruling discourses.
- With performative practices, world hegemony is secured through certain behaviours and rituals. For example, states perform their hegemony with flag ceremonies, commemorative monuments, national holidays, and military parades. Finance capital demonstrates its hegemony with clusters of glittering skyscrapers that dominate the centres of global cities. Modern science affirms its hegemony inter alia with conference routines, academic prizes, and graduation rites. Counter-hegemony, too, has its performances with street marches, dissident art, and so on.
As suggested earlier, hegemony in world affairs is generally achieved through a combination of these four types of practices. Whether hegemony lies with state, capital, knowledge, empire, or whatever, it establishes and sustains itself through a mix of material, discursive, institutional, and performative techniques. None of the four is sufficient by itself. For example, to control the rule-making institutions, a hegemonic force needs command of resources, narratives, and rituals. Likewise, deployment of discursive techniques requires economic means, institutional frameworks, and ceremonial presentations.
To be sure, this short reflection does not answer the deeply contested questions of whether hegemony operates in world politics today, in what particular form and through what specific techniques. However, perhaps the schema outlined here can help make the debates more focused and systematic.
In summary our approach can be put the following way:
- We are experiencing quite an unpreceded period of chaos, lack of trust, and decline of international norms and influence of international institutions.
- A set of very complex processes that combine the decline of an old hegemon (US/EU), a crisis of liberalism, the rise of new centers of domination, global changes in social structures, and the new technological age in manufacturing (industry 4.0) and communication are bringing more chaos and uncertainty for the coming decade.
- Two years ago it was argued (Popov and Dutkiewicz , 2017) that a new multi-regional ‘cum hegemonic’ international system is visible on the horizon, which will bring some macro-regional equity (for instance by bringing new players such as China and India on par with the ‘old’ hegemons) and a new round of economic efficiency. In part, that will be achieved by re-inventing the old and bringing in new hegemonic actors (both state and non-state players).
- There is also a note of caution, because at the same time, the new order will create a new regional subordination (and new forms of inequalities by developing its own ‘centre-periphery relations’) within macro-regional hegemonies.
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 He also adds to this argument that, “The politics of fear doesn’t mean a politics that points to or invokes or even relies on threats, real or false. It doesn’t mean a politics that is emotive (what politics isn’t?) or paranoid. It means something quite different: a politics that is grounded on fear, that takes inspiration and meaning from fear that sees in fear a wealth of experience and a layer of profundity that cannot be found in other experiences”.
 For more also see: Carlo Bordoni. State of Fear in a Liquid World. Routledge. 2017.
 For more see: F. J. Dionne. https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/the-politics-of-fear-is-gripping-democracies-across-the-world/2016/12/04/2de10712-b8c8-11e6-959c-172c82123976_story.html?utm_term=.1d6956e28049
Don’t play identity politics!’ The primal scream of the straight white male. Hadley Freeman, https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/dec/02/identity-politics-donald-trump-white-men
Identity Politics and Racism: Some Thoughts and Questions. Elliott batTzedek. http://feminist-reprise.org/library/resistance-strategy-and-struggle/identity-politics-and-racism-some-thoughts-and-questions/
 It should be immediately noted that in modern political theory, the Gramscian concept of hegemony looks much more sophisticated than its interpretation in the dictionary of Scruton. For example, as G. Hoare notes: “Hegemony, for Gramsci, serves to stress the cultural and moral dimensions of the exercise of political power. This is not, though, the original meaning of the word, either in Ancient Greece or among the Russian revolutionaries of the late nineteenth century who resuscitated the term in the modern context… Importantly, Gramsci does not offer a single definition of hegemony that would be valid for all times and places. Typically, the concepts that Gramsci uses in his analyses of politics appear for the first time in the context of a specific historical inquiry, and then are widened and refined as he applies them in subsequent passages to new objects of study… Gramsci’s historical investigations are in this way an invitation to think through the interpenetration of consent and coercion. The example of present-day Western democracies might illustrate the fact that these modalities of power tend to be closely connected and mutually reinforcing: modern states enjoy the ‘monopoly of legitimate violence’ (in Weber’s words), exerted through the coercive element of the police and the army, but they are also constituted by the electoral mechanism as the consensual and democratic expression of a political community made up by the whole body of citizens. The coercive apparatuses of the State are, then, the means to implement public policies that have been sanctioned by elections, while the electoral mechanism itself contributes to ensuring the durability and stability of the violence of the state by making that violence, in another of Weber’s terms, ‘legitimate’. It is highly likely that the most solid and stable hegemonic system is precisely the one in which brute force is least visible because its daily exercise has been made unnecessary by the logic of consent” (Hoare, Sperber, 2016, pp. 118, 123-124; cf: Filippini, 20111, pp. 104-110; Giglioli, 2013. passim; Desai, p. 48 sq.; Lebow, 2010b, pp. 43-44; Unmaking the West, 2006. pp. 19-20) (George Hoare, Nathan Sperber. An Introduction to Antonio Gramsci: His Life, Thought and Legacy. Bloomsbury Academic. 2016. pp. 118, 123-124; cf: Michele Filippini. Gramsci globale. Guida pratica alle interpretazioni di Gramsci nel mondo. Odoya, 2011. pp. 104-110; Matteo Giglioli. Legitimacy and Revolution in a Society of Masses: Max Weber, Antonio Gramsci, and the Fin-de-siècle Debate on Social Order. Transaction Publishers, 2013. passim; Radhika Desai. Geopolitical Economy: After US Hegemony, Globalization and Empire. Pluto Press, 2013. p. 48 sq.; Richard Ned Lebow. Why Nations Fight: Past and Future Motives for War. Cambridge University Press, 2010. pp. 43-44; Philip Tetlock, Richard Ned Lebow and Noel Geoffrey Parker (eds). Unmaking the West: “What-If?” Scenarios That Rewrite World History. University of Michigan Press. 2006. pp. 19-20). A more differentiated interpretation, based on some essential nuances of the concept of hegemony in the heritage of Lenin and Gramsci, is presented in the newest article A.G. Linera “The State and the Democratic Road to Socialism”: “The social process called the state is a process of construction of hegemonies or class groups. In other words, it is the result of a historic class group’s capacity to articulate its social project with other classes who do not belong to the dominant group corresponding to that project. However, in the struggle for state power, there is always a dimension of emancipation, a community potential that must reveal itself at…Hegemony is the growing irradiation of a mobilizing hope in a social way of managing the common goods of every member of the polity. But it is also the modification of the moral and logical frameworks that people use to organize their presence in the world. Gramsci is right when he says that the working classes must lead and convince the greater part of the social classes around a revolutionary project for the state economy and society. However, Lenin is right, too, when he affirms that the dominant project must be defeated. So, there are two paths to political hegemony: to convince, along with Gramsci and to defeat, along with Lenin. Our experience in Bolivia teaches us that hegemony is the result of a combination of both these paths. At first, you have to radiate outwards and convince people of the principle of a mobilising hope (as Gramsci sought). This is a long labor in the cultural, discursive, organizational, and symbolic fields that establishes nodes of territorial irradiation in the social space. Its effectiveness is put to the test when the moral accord between governing and governed is set in crisis, or when it is socially possible to repudiate the dominant social order’s moral and logical frameworks” (Linera, 2109, pp. 10-11, 20) (Álvaro Garcia Linera. The State and the Democratic Road to Socialism. in: Jean-Numa Ducange and Razmig Keucheyan (eds). The End of the Democratic State. Nicos Poulantzas, a Marxism for the 21st Century. Palgrave Macmillan. 2019. pp. 10-11, 20).
 A good example of this interaction is the theory of hegemonic stability is presented in a relatively recent compendium “World Politics. Interests, Interactions, Institutions”: “Small numbers make it easier for governments to monitor each other’s behavior; there is likely to be less free riding among small groups of countries than in the world at large. An extreme version of this observation is the theory of hegemonic stability, which argues that the existence of a single very powerful nation facilitates the solution of problems of collective action and free riding; the hegemonic power is large and strong enough to be both willing and able to solve these problems for the world as a whole. In economic affairs, this approach argues that when there has been such a hegemonic power over the past two centuries (Great Britain after 1860 and the United States after 1945), trade liberalization was facilitated by the leadership of an overwhelmingly influential world economic power (World Politics, 2019, p. 322; cf.: Raymond, 2019, pp. 139-141; Plagemann, 2015, pp.78-82 )(Jeffry A. Frieden, David A. Lake and Kenneth A. Schultz (eds). World Politics. Interests, Interactions, Institutions. Fourth edition. W. W. Norton & Company. 2019. p. 322; cf.: Mark Raymond. Social Practices of Rule-Making in World Politics. Oxford University Press. 2019. pp. 139-141; Johannes Plagemann. Cosmopolitanism in a Multipolar World: Soft Sovereignty in Democratic Regional Powers. Palgrave Macmillan. 2015. pp.78-82).
 See also: Elizabeth De Boer-Ashworth. The Global Political Economy and Post-1989 Change. The Place of the Central European Transition. Macmillan Press Ltd. 2000. pp. 19, 174; Heather M. Campbell et al. (eds). Advances in Democracy: From the French Revolution to the Present-Day European Union. Britannica Educational Publishing. 2011; Jean-Numa Ducange. The French Revolution and Social Democracy: The Transmission of History and Its Political Uses in Germany and Austria, 1889-1934. Brill. 2018; Qin Pang. State-Society Relations and Confucian Revivalism in Contemporary China. Palgrave Macmillan. 2019. p. 59; Jennifer Shore. The Welfare State and the Democratic Citizen: How Social Policies Shape Political Equality. Palgrave Macmillan. 2019; Andy Scerri. Postpolitics and the Limits of Nature: Critical Theory, Moral Authority, and Radicalism in the Anthropocene. State University of New York Press. 2019; Renzo Llorente. The Political Theory of Che Guevara. Rowman & Littlefield International. 2018; Takashi Shiraishi and Tetsushi Sonobe (eds). Emerging States and Economies: Their Origins, Drivers, and Challenges Ahead. Springer. 2019; Harumi Osaki. Nothingness in the Heart of Empire: The Moral and Political Philosophy of the Kyoto School in Imperial Japan. State University of New York Press. 2019. pp.13-14, 24, 29, 85-105; Oisin Suttle. Distributive Justice and World Trade Law: A Political Theory of International Trade Regulation. Cambridge University Press. 2018. p. 121.
 cf: Richard Ned Lebow. The Tragic Vision of Politics. Ethics, Interests, Orders. Cambridge University Press. 2003. pp. 122 sq., 276-289; Richard Ned Lebow. Avoiding War, Making Peace. Palgrave Macmillan. 2018. pp. 16-17; Richard Ned Lebow. Max Weber and International Relations. Cambridge University Press. 2017. pp. 67-74; Richard Ned Lebow: Richard Ned Lebow (ed). Richard Ned Lebow. Major Texts on Methods and Philosophy of Science. AFES PRESS; Springer. 2016. p. 71; Toni Erskine and Richard Ned Lebow (eds). Tragedy and International Relations. Palgrave Macmillan. 2012. pp. 7-8; Richard Ned Lebow. Constructing Cause in International Relations. Cambridge University Press. 2014. pp. 157-158.
 See also: Giovanna Borradori. Philosophy in a Time of Terror. Dialogues with Jürgen Habermas and Jacques Derrida. The University of Chicago Press. 2003. p. 27 sq.; Hugh Baxter. Habermas. The Discourse Theory of Law and Democracy. Stanford University Press. 2011. pp. 228-229; cf: John Sitton. Habermas and Contemporary Society. Palgrave Macmillan. 2003. pp. 152-153.
 See also: John Junkerman and Takei Masakazu (eds). Noam Chomsky. Power and Terror: Conflict, Hegemony, and the Rule of Force. Paradigm Publishers. 2011. p. 115 sq.; cf.: Leo Panitch and Martijn Konings (eds). American Empire and the Political Economy of Global Finance. Palgrave Macmillan. 2008. passim; Tai-Yoo Kim and Daeryoon Kim (eds). The Secrets of Hegemony. Springer. 2017. p. 169 sq.; Richard Ned Lebow. Between Peace and War: The Nature of International Crisis. The Johns Hopkins University Press. 1984. pp. 203-205; Simon Reich, Richard Ned Lebow. Good-Bye Hegemony! Power and Influence in the Global System. Princeton University Press. 2014. pp. 133-136; Richard Ned Lebow (ed). Richard Ned Lebow: Essential Texts on Classics, History, Ethics, and International Relations. AFES PRESS; Springer. 2016. pp. 127-128; Richard Ned Lebow. National Identities and International Relations. Cambridge University Press. 2016. p. 97-100; Richard K. Herrmann and Richard Ned Lebow (eds). Ending the Cold War: Interpretations, Causation, and the Study of International Relations. Palgrave Macmillan. 2004. p. 3; Wulf Kansteiner, Claudio Fogu and Richard Ned Lebow (eds). The Politics of Memory in Postwar Europe. Duke University Press. 2006. pp. 17, 23, 29; Richard Ned Lebow. Forbidden Fruit: Counterfactuals and International Relations. Princeton University Press. 2010. p. 45.
 See also: Scholte, 2005: Building Global Democracy? 2011, pp. 35-36, 80-82, 96-98, 339-340Bruce M. Bagley and Magdalena Defort. Decline of the U.S. Hegemony? A Challenge of ALBA and a New Latin American Integration of the Twenty-First Century. Lexington Books. 2015; Charles Krauthammer. Things That Matter: Three Decades of Passions, Pastimes and Politics. Crown Forum. 2015; Leo Panitch, Sam Gindin. The Making of Global Capitalism. The Political Economy of American Empire. Verso. 2012; Norman Pollack. Capitalism, Hegemony and Violence in the Age of Drones. Palgrave Macmillan. 2018.
 See also: Owen Worth. Rethinking Hegemony. Palgrave Macmillan. 2015. pp.170-171.
 See also: Richard Ned Lebow. Why Nations Fight: Past and Future Motives for War. Cambridge University Press. 2010. p. 29; John Comaroff, Jean Comaroff. Ethnography and the Historical Imagination. Westview Press. 1992; Richard Ned Lebow, Peer Schouten and Hidemi Suganami(eds). The Return of the Theorists: Dialogues with Great Thinkers in International Relations. Palgrave Macmillan. 2016. Passim.
 See also: Daniela Caterina. Struggles for Hegemony in Italy’s Crisis Management: A Case Study on the 2012 Labour Market Reform. Springer. 2019. p. 28-29; Rico Isaacs and Alessandro Frigerio (eds). Theorizing Central Asian Politics: The State, Ideology and Power. Palgrave Macmillan. 2019.
 See also: Femia, 1981, pp. 235-239; Wesson, 2008, p. 5; Burgio, 2014. p. 48 sq.; Anderson, 2017b.).
 See also: Robert Aman. Educational Alternatives in Latin America: New Modes of Counter-Hegemonic Learning. Palgrave Macmillan. 2019. pp. 4-5.
 At the end of the 20th century and the beginning of the 21st century, some researchers of Gramsci’s political theory noted that the critique of his followers of the modern liberal order has many similarities with criticism of liberalism in the conservative philosophy of Karl Schmitt. Indeed, Schmitt was a keen critic of liberal universalism with its pretension of offering the true and only legitimate political system. For him “the world was a pluriverse, not a universe, and he was adamant that any attempt to impose one single model worldwide would have dire consequences”. In The concept of the political, he denounced the way in which liberals were using the concept of ‘humanity’ as an ideological weapon of imperialist expansion and he showed how humanitarian ethics served as a vehicle of economic imperialism… This, in his view, explained why wars in the name of humanity were particularly inhuman, since all means were justified once the enemy had been presented as an outlaw of humanity. The current definition of the frontier between friend and enemy as one between the civilised world and its enemies would no doubt have been denounced by him as an avatar of the liberal rhetoric… While critical, Schmitt was also clearly impressed by the capacity of US imperialism to secure the interpretation of the decisive political strategic notions like peace, disarmament, order and public security (Louiza Odysseos and Fabio Petito, eds., 2007, pp. 148-149).
 cf: Ignas A. Kalpokas. Political Theory of Post-Truth. Palgrave Macmillan. 2019. pp. 103, 124 sq.; Richard Ned Lebow. The Politics and Business of Self-Interest from Tocqueville to Trump. Palgrave Macmillan. 2018; Lawrence Davidson. Essays Reflecting the Art of Political and Social Analysis. Palgrave Macmillan. 2019. pp. 131-134; John Horton, Manon Westphal and Ulrich Willems (eds). The Political Theory of Modus Vivendi. Springer. 2019. pp. 157-161.
 See also: Marc McNally and John Schwarzmantel (eds). Gramsci and Global Politics. Hegemony and Resistance. Routledge. 2009. pp. 6-30; Joseph Francese (ed). Perspectives on Gramsci. Politics, Culture and Social Theory. Routledge. 2009. pp. 147, 152, 159-160.
 See also: Robert T. Tally (ed). The Geocritical Legacies of Edward W. Said. Spatiality, Critical Humanism, and Comparative Literature. Palgrave Macmillan. 2015; Patricia Gabriel Sharmani, Nicholas Osborne Pagan. Literature, Memory, Hegemony. East/West Crossings. Springer; Palgrave Macmillan. 2018. pp. 2,96; Hart W. D. Edward Said and the Religious Effects of Culture. Cambridge University Press. 2004; Jean Comaroff and John L. Comaroff (eds). Law and Disorder in the Postcolony. The University of Chicago Press. 2006; Evelyn Goh E. The Struggle for Order: Hegemony, Hierarchy, and Transition in Post-Cold War East Asia. Oxford University Press. 2013; Richard Ned Lebow. A Cultural Theory of International Relations. Cambridge University Press. 2009. Passim.
Immanuel Wallerstein believed that the Gramscian concept of hegemony is limited solely to the cultural segment of power, which globally correlates with other forms of social power – economic and political: “Obviously, there are other forms of social power – economic power, cul¬tural power (Gramsci’s ‘hegemony’), power over self (individual and ‘group’ autonomy)” (Wallerstein, 2000. p. 368). Paradoxical as it may seem, the Gramscian version, which closely linked the concept of hegemony with the ideological discourse in general, contributed to the radical denial of the latter within the framework of the concept of ‘posthegemony’. A very typical example is the book of Jon Beasley-Murray Posthegemony: Political theory and Latin America, in which he quite categorically states the following: “There is no hegemony and never has been. We live in cynical, posthegemonic times: nobody is very much persuaded by ideologies that once seemed fundamental to securing social order. Everybody knows, for instance, that work is exploitation and that politics is deceit. But we have always lived in posthegemonic times: social order was never in fact secured through ideology. No amount of belief in the dignity of labor or the selflessness of elected representatives could ever have been enough to hold things together. The fact that people no longer give up their consent in the ways in which they may once have done, and yet everything carries on much the same, shows that consent was never really at issue. Social order is secured through habit and affect: through folding the constituent power of the multitude back on itself to produce the illusion of transcendence and sovereignty. It follows also that social change is never achieved through any putative counterhegemony. No amount of adherence to a revolutionary creed or a party line could ever be enough to break things apart” (Beasley-Murray, 2011, pp. IX-X).
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