Sunday, September 12, 2010

Hegemony: Close to Home, Far Reaching Influence


In order to understand the way in which hegemony can control cultural perception and cause ideas to become accepted as “incontrovertible,” a local example, The Texas Board of Education, can be utilized and assessed.

If a company or group is a hegemon, they effectively control a set of media in order to direct the common consensus of an idea towards their beliefs.  Hegemony, in the context of the media is the control of ideas by a source. Hegemony can be used in a political or social context and sometimes the two are inherently linked.  One of the most relevant global theories connected with hegemony is cultural imperialism, in which one country imposes or passes their culture to another country. This idea is fascinating to me because of it means that one company, or essentially, one person who is the head of a company in the United States can control what people buy, wear, believe, and act upon not only in the United States but around the world. 

      One local example of hegemony in a cultural context is the Texas Board of Education.  The board does not have the same global power as some more obvious hegemons such as Steve Jobs or Disney, however they do decide what every public school student in Texas will learn in their most formative years. The essence of a source that has hegemony according to Media Now is that they “Create a consensus around…ideas… so that they come to be accepted as common sense”. Textbooks are a prime example of media that come to be accepted as absolutely irrefutable knowledge. For example, I’m quoting from a textbook in my blog post.  There was a huge controversy in March of 2010 over the Texas Board of Education because they passed a social studies curriculum that focuses on decidedly conservative ideas such as a heavy emphasis on capitalism, republican ideology, and partially anti-secular government. The textbooks that are influenced by the policy are sold not only in Texas but across the United States. Despite political affiliations, every public school student will be subjected to and will absorb these ideas, for better or for worse.

Image Sources: Fox News, New York Times 2008, ABC news, Daily Times Online
Info Sources, (New York Times 2010) (Straubhaar, LaRose, Davenport. Media Now. 2010 ed.) (Fox News 2008) (Mastroianni. "Hegemony in Gramsci" 2002). 

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