Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Hegemony: A Realist Analysis

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Jonathan Joseph
Why is hegemony an essential feature of society? Hegemony: A Realist Analysisis a new and original approach to this important concept. It presents a theoretical history of the use of hegemony in a range of work starting with a discussion of Gramsci and Russian Marxism and going on to look at more recent applications. It examines the current debates and discusses the new direction to Marx made by Jacques Derrida, before outlining a critical realist / Marxist alternative. This book presents a new understanding of hegemony based on a distinction between actual hegemonic project and a deeper, underlying, structural hegemony. The move away from purely intersubjective and culturalist readings of the concept are reinforced with studies of its objectivity, its relation to ideology and concepts of time and space, and most importantly, its role in the process of social reproduction and transformation. The book also contains a detailed discussion of recent political/economic developments and thedebates around post-Fordism, globalization and international relations. This analysis shifts from the surface level operation of hegemony to the underlying social condition under which this operation takes place. It suggests that as well as being represented by hegemonic projects, hegemony also exists at a deeper, more structural level, concerned with the unity of the social formation.

Hegemonyemploys critical realist philosophy in an explanatory way to help clarify the concept of hegemony and its relation to societal processes. This work contributes to recent debates in social science and political philosophy, developing both the concept of hegemony itself, and the work of critical realism.

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