Cultural hegemony  

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The Birth of Venus (detail), a 1486 painting by Sandro Botticelli
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The Birth of Venus (detail), a 1486 painting by Sandro Botticelli

Cultural hegemony is a concept coined by Marxist philosopher Antonio Gramsci. It means that a diverse culture can be ruled or dominated by one group or class, that everyday practices and shared beliefs provide the foundation for complex systems of domination.

Influence of Gramsci

Although leftists may have been the primary users of this conceptual tool, the activities of organized conservative movements also draw upon the concept. This was seen, for instance, in evangelical Christian efforts to capture local school boards in the U.S. during the 1990s, and thus be able to dictate curriculum. Patrick Buchanan, in a widely discussed speech to the 1992 Republican Convention, used the term "culture war" to describe political and social struggle in the United States.

Theory about hegemonic culture has profoundly influenced Eurocommunism, the social sciences, and activist strategies. In social science the application of the concept of hegemony in the examination of major discourses (as by Michel Foucault) has become an important aspect of sociology, political science, anthropology, and other cultural studies. In education the concept has led to the development of critical pedagogy.

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Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Cultural hegemony" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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