I am taking an LIS theory class this semester, and since we could use just about any theory we wanted (which would be hard not to do, given how interdisciplinary our field is!) I decided to go with the theory of hegemony. I’ll spare you the contents of my papers on the history of the theory and just focus on the model here (if you’re curious, the International Gramsci Society has some good resources, and I’m more than happy to share citations and such with anyone who has questions).
One of the reasons I love the theory, and the main reason I chose it, was that it was created by Antonio Gramsci, who started out in academia then left that life to pursue another career (as an activist). I feel like having both those perspectives and types of training informing one’s work makes for much more well-rounded scholars and keeps us from being so trapped in our own little world that we can’t easily engage with the world around us. I wrote a post on how my experiences in the service industry have shaped me as an academic that talks a bit more about this. I also love how the theory has been applied to so many research questions and types of inequality across many different fields, which shows its usefulness but also made it a bit tricky to pin down and define in a short paper. I tried, and I came up with this model that I wanted to share. It’s the first model I’ve made, so I suspect it’s far from perfect, but I would love to hear what you think–what looks good? What might I consider changing? Are there things you would add/take away? Major points that were missed? Would the model look the same for all types of inequality?
The model is held under a Creative Commons attribution-noncommercial 3.0 unported license (just like the rest of the site). Please share it with colleagues/students/whomever, just give me credit if you do!
5 Replies to “Visual Model of Hegemony”
Looks interesting, Julia, and I’m sure you’ll have plenty of opportunities to develop this further in the context of your research! The one thing I would raise is whether some cultural norms are enforced not by true “institutions” but by more informal organizations or peer pressure? I guess that would imply a broad definition of “institution” that goes beyond the usual connotations of that word.
Thanks Adam! I tried to capture both those phenomena (institutionalized pressure vs ‘peer pressure’ or other more informal pressures), but I think it could be refined. For Cultural Norms (no. 2), I put a note on the side that talks a bit about how individuals within a society see these norms as being common sense, in the hopes of separating the informal pressures from the formal institutions (employers, education systems, etc). I do wonder if it might fit better in no. 3 though–I think the theory tends to view ‘institutions’ very broadly, so it could work!
Thank you! I am using your visual for a class that I teach on international relations. Will give credit!
Wonderful! I’d love to hear what your class thinks of it!