Sunday, April 09, 2006

Today's Definition

Hegemony: A Marxist theory that seeks to explain why working-class people generally don't care much for Marxism in a way that is the least painful for Marxists to hear. The theory originated in Marx, but was elaborated in the prison diaries of Antonio Gramsci, an Italian Communist who was killed by the fascists. This grim fate gives Gramsci a certain cache that he might not have had otherwise, but he is also that rarest of specimins- the Marxist who understands culture.

Hegemony has made a series return in recent years, becoming one of those terms that academics drop in conversation the way that real estate agents will slip in the fact that they own a Lexus. Let's be honest, the vast majority of people think in cliches, and academics just think in slightly more abstract cliches. T.J. Jackson Lears writes that "For many, he seems to explain why workers under advanced capitalism have not behaved the way that Marx said they would..." which is true if we emphasize the word seems. Also, if we ignore the fact that workers under advanced capitalism have had plenty of time to observe that workers under communism didn't behave the way they were supposed to either.


The Pagan Temple said...

I'd say the best explanation is workers assume they will never be able under marxism to rise above the station of worker.

Rufus said...

Or slack off. I could never get behind an ideology that makes slackers "enemies of the people".