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Ethical hegemony

[journal article]

Friedman, P. Kerim

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Abstract Drawing upon Peter Ives' book, Gramsci's Politics of Language, this article examines the linguistic origins of Antonio Gramsci's theory of hegemony. This is then compared with Pierre Bourdieu's theory of the habitus, with a particular focus on how the two theories conceptualize social change. Ives shows that Gramsci understood language standardization as either democratic or repressive depending on the nature of the standardization process. Ives uses this to argue that the opposite of repressive hegemony is not the absence of hegemony but a progressive hegemony grounded in democratic processes. While Boudieu's emphasis on social reproduction over social change makes his work less useful for conceptualizing such a progressive hegemony, this paper argues that his theory of symbolic capital (including linguistic capital) offers us a unique insight into the obstacles faced by agents of progressive social change and in so doing sheds light on the limitations of Gramsci's approach.
Keywords Gramsci, A.; Bourdieu, P.; hegemony; habits; language; theory comparison
Classification General Sociology, Basic Research, General Concepts and History of Sociology, Sociological Theories
Method basic research; theory application
Free Keywords Gramsci; Bourdieu; hegemony; language
Document language English
Publication Year 2009
Page/Pages p. 355-365
Journal Rethinking Marxism, 21 (2009) 3
Status Preprint; reviewed
Licence Creative Commons - Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works