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PSIR 1A-10.8 Gramsci – Previous Year Questions & Answers

Model Answers to PYQs (2018-2023)

1] According to Gramsci, ‘hegemony is primarily based on the organisation of consent.’ Comment. [2019/20m/250w/3a]

Gramsci’s understanding of hegemony goes beyond mere coercion or domination and delves into the realm of cultural and ideological control.

Gramsci argues that ruling classes maintain their power not solely through force and coercion but by establishing cultural and intellectual leadership over society. This cultural and intellectual leadership enables them to shape the worldview, values, and beliefs of the broader population, ultimately gaining their voluntary consent to the existing social order.

Hegemony operates through the construction of a dominant ideology that presents the interests and values of the ruling class as universal and natural. This ideology becomes embedded in the social fabric, influencing people’s perceptions, judgments, and behaviours. It is disseminated and reinforced through various institutions, such as education, media, religious organizations, and cultural production.

By influencing the dominant culture and shaping the narrative, the ruling class creates a sense of normalcy and legitimacy around its power and privileges. The ideas and values propagated by the ruling class become deeply ingrained in people’s consciousness, often to the point where they are seen as common sense or unquestionable truths. As a result, individuals willingly participate in maintaining the existing social order, even if it may not serve their own interests.

Gramsci emphasizes that the organization of consent is not a passive acceptance of domination but an active process in which people internalize and reproduce the dominant ideology.

However, it is important to note that Gramsci also recognizes the potential for resistance and counter-hegemonic movements. He acknowledges that the establishment of consent is not absolute or unchallenged. Subaltern groups and organic intellectuals have the potential to contest and subvert the dominant ideology, fostering alternative narratives and fostering counter-hegemonic consciousness. [277 words]

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