Hegemony - The idea of hegemony, and in this context the role of America in the modern world.

Essay 2006 13 Pages

Politics - International Politics - Region: USA


Table Of Content's

1 Introduction

2 Definition
2.1 Military hegemony
2.2 Cultural hegemony
2.3 Monetory hegemony

3 History

4 American hegemony
4.1 Its beginnings
4.2 America and the Cold War
4.3 1990 until 2001
4.4 “Nine-eleven”
4.4.1 America’s answer
4.5 America and its status in the world today
4.6 America’s (and the world’s) future

1 Introduction

When talking about hegemony, mentioning the name Antonio Gramsci (1891-1937) is inevitable. Gramsci was an Italian theorist who had a significant influence on the definition of the term as we know it today.

Although one might think that especially the western society is mostly governed by democratic powers, adherers of hegemonial assumption have a slightly different opinion.

This phenomenon will be examined in the following essay written by Michael Krause, Erasmus student at the Dublin Institute of Technology.

Emphasis will lay on today’s forces in different fields of society and the question if one or several of these forces can be described as hegemon(s).

2 Definition

Hegemony describes the dominance of one group, institution, state or organisation over another. The term is particularly used in political and military fields but also in economic, religious or cultural backgrounds.

While in a democratic system the different parties can all participate in decision making, in hegemony the other institutions can’t achive their opinions and visions towards the so-called hegemon (the dominating party).

Although the theoretical and judicial possibilities might be given the implementation fails because of the influence capability and the power of the hegemon.

Nevertheless these restrictions can defer depending on the degree they are exercised.

2.1 Military hegemony

Military hegemony describes the usage of military powers to ensure the hegemon’s position. Nowadays most literary sources describe the way America is enforcing its system as a mixture of military and monetary hegemony.

This view will be dealt with more precisely under 4.

2.2 Cultural hegemony

“Cultural hegemony is a concept coined by Marxist philosopher Antonio Gramsci. It means that a diverse culture can be ruled or dominated by one group or class, that everyday practices and shared beliefs provide the foundation for complex systems of domination.”[1]

2.3 Monetory hegemony

“Monetary hegemony is an economic and political phenomenon in which a single state has decisive influence over the functions of the international monetary system. The functions influenced by a monetary hegemon are:

- accessibility to international credits,
- foreign exchange markets
- the management of balance of payments problems in which the hegemon operates under no balance of payments constraint.”[2]

3 History

The word “hegemony” was first mentioned in Greece. It derives from the word “hegeisthai” which means “to lead”.

Besides Greece, there are many more examples of hegemonial leadership in history such as Theben and the Latin Empire. In ancient China during the Eastern Zhou dynasty the Zhou kings appointed hegemons.

As mentioned above this influence could be found in different political, military or economic areas for many centuries.

Other historic examples of hegemony are:

- Mongolian Empire in the 13th and 14th centuries.
- The Roman Empire from 31 BC to the 5th century.
- Sparta in Greece after the Peloponnesian War.
- The United States of America from 1991 to the present.

Up to the 18th century different hegemons had geographically limited areas of influence.

The first hegemon which spread its influence all over the globe was the British Empire during the beginning of the 19th Century. The hegemony, or dominance, of Britain during this period rooted not only from its large military power on the seas, but also from its financial and ideological power in both its Empire (the colonies) and elsewhere.

Around 1945 the so-called American hegemony took place.


[1] [Online] Available: http://www.answers.com/topic/cultural-hegemony, 04/12/2006

[2] [Online] Available: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monetary_Hegemony, 06/12/2006


ISBN (eBook)
File size
458 KB
Catalog Number
Institution / College
Dublin Institute of Technology
Hegemony America Political Economy




Title: Hegemony - The idea of hegemony, and in this context the role of America in the modern world.