Hegemonic Illusions & Resistance  

rm_Young102 40M
129 posts
2/4/2006 8:58 pm

Last Read:
3/5/2006 9:27 pm

Hegemonic Illusions & Resistance

The social formations that influence our behavior are shaped by the dominant social forces, which constitute the status quo. In this regard, the concept of hegemony explains the dissemination of power relationships in the postmodern society, which is characterized mainly by social alienation, compression of time and place through globalization, computerization of production, and mediazation. Within this context, the self-understandings of people in the post-industrial society appear to be illusions formed by the ruling class, which approach people through dominant hegemonic institutions that regulate society. These institutions comprise religion, media, education, market and culture/leisure including sport, music, arts, etc.
The relation between the postmodern social order and the illusions is clearly an evolving one. In particular, this order causes these illusions by promoting models of behavior such as masculinity or femininity, aggression, individualism, nationalism, and of course conspicuous consumerism which in turn they are functional for the maintenance of this order because of their discriminatory nature that perpetuates inequalities. Yet, it appears that there is an embryonic crisis in postmodern society, which manifests in terms of the globalization processes, the conflict of civilizations and the nebulous ethics as well as aesthetics featuring the increasing chasm between the wealthy and the poor classes or nations.

An historical account of the crisis reveals that the hegemonic establishment and the social structures in both feudal and capitalist societies have been based on patriarchy and massive democracy respectively as forms of socio-economic and political organization. Central to this account is the emergence of class and gender polarization, elitism, economic and biological determinism as well as nationalism and chauvinism in relation with the subsequent antagonism evident in the international, political, economic and cultural spheres. Hence, it is evident that the crisis in postmodern society has its roots on historical processes and subsequent socio-economic and political transformations, which maintain inequalities, exploitation and injustice.

The alternative to this situation is resistance and the transformation or restructuring of postmodern society in what I call a meta-democratic society; I have adopted this neologism in order to distinguish the potentially transformed society from the current massively democratic society. In such a society, the individuals are active, self-reflexive agents who create themselves under continuous interactions in the process of resistance. It is considered that only active resistance can change the conditions under which subordinate status is retained leading to social equality, which can form a meta-democratic society.

© copyright Young102 2006

rm_FreeLove999 46F
16127 posts
2/6/2006 1:10 am

so, you are big into gramsci?? i think hegemonic analysis very helpful. i am glad you don't shy away from resistance. if my husband read this, no doubt, he would be able to classify the branch of your politics. i don't much care for sectarianism. welcome comrade

i am pretty much into philosophers such as deleuze&guittari and paulo virno. i seem to be going thru a lull in political activity at the moment tho, so active resistance has turned into writing for now. would like to hear your thoughts about writing a counter-hegemony as an act of resistance -- (my thoughts on the subject change, as most things, with my mood).

[blog freelove999]

rm_Young102 40M
181 posts
2/6/2006 2:02 pm

Freelove, Yes I believe that Gramsci's theory of hegemony is a useful basis for analysis but not enough. I'm preety much in Foucault's, and Castoriades philosophy and critique of capitalism and also into thinkers such as Chomsky and Adorno as well as Etzioni's Communitarian thought. Mostly I'm trying to integrate elements from different thinkers 'cause I believe the truth is an evolving force and exists in many different lines of thought. And perhaps because the truth is always free noone can captures it and so we ahve to look into a variety of thinking streams. But this is another discussion.... YES, resistance is the only alternative and the books' or the arts' role is to inspire and provide a manifesto or conceptual framework for resistance. To answer your question, no I haven't developed a manifesto yet (hopefully one day I will) but these are my toughts roughly:

Despite that the status quo in capitalist societies attains to be reproduced from generation to generation, it is evident that changes in the relative power of social groups, and their social and cultural relations occur. This means that individuals are not solely passive agents and although they are falsely conscious consumers in a capitalist society can be aware of the forces involved in producing and reproducing inequality and maintaining their subordinate status. In this respect, if individuals are to play some part in understanding, giving meaning to and shaping their destiny, then it is necessary to reintroduce agency and reform society. In other words, both individuals and the system must change in order to challenge the overwhelming differences in social power that exist between a wealthy ruling elite and poor subordinate classes.

This change can be achieved by the resistance progression of the middle-class, in which reproductive capitalist forces are denied and agency confronts structure in order to defy hegemony. This means that alternative political and cultural emphases, and the many forms of opposition and struggle, are important not only in themselves but as indicative features of what the hegemonic process has in practice had to control.

I firmly that leisure practices reproducing capitalism must be denied as a consumption choice. Forget the hollywood-type movies, or broadway-type theater, forget the big-time sports, forget the massive entertainment of TV, the media information controlled by the establishement and you will set yourself free. If we deny those practices then we will cause a crisis because a capitalist economy is based on them in terms of financial distribution of benefits and propaganda. 'I DON"T CONSUME' can become a slogan, you know. And in such a crisis a restructuring of the social system is possible.

In addition, individuals should attain the capacity to change the conditions under which they practice leisure and recognize as well as alter the conditions that maintain their subordinate status. Thus, the resistance progression focuses on leisure as an aspect of culture, produced and socially constructed by the participants who must learn how to control their own destinies.

The transformation of the structures of a capitalist society, which must be altered in order to create the meta-democratic society include mainly the institutions of education, sport, media and the state governance. These must be transformed to new forms of cooperative and consciously directed endeavors towards community integration in a manner that will isolate the pathogenies of alienation, discrimination, bigotry, exploitation, as well as every kind of misbehavior if the social crisis is to be resolved and the dissatisfactions of its members lessened. In this regard, the meta-democratic community requires collective action and state intervention in mixed market pluralism where the restoration of growth constitutes a prerequisite to the extension of social benefits.

Therefore, the goal of a society based on mutual cooperation, equality and social justice is to be achieved by incremental reductions of inequalities in a mixed pluralist economy. State intervention must target the redistribution of wealth and income and the reduction of inequalities in health, education and welfare through legislative action. Leisure policy should design state interventions to reduce inequalities of access and support uneconomic leisure forms by subsidy in order to maximize the range of opportunities for all. This means that the leisure system should be democratized by providing representation on controlling bodies of the respective organizations for worker interests (through unions, and professional associations), users of the service, ethnic or minority groups, women, elected representatives and local voluntary administrators.

To conclude, it is emphasized that the suggested resistance progression means not only external control by restructured social institutions but it also requires the capacity of organizations and groups as well as their members to regulate their own affairs according to their specific principles and values. Self-institutionalization and empowerment of local communities to achieve self-governance should redefine the social norms moving from the apotheosis of commercialization to the development of the social and human character of a social system.

rm_FreeLove999 46F
16127 posts
2/19/2006 1:08 pm

i haven't read adorno, but i know my husband has, so i just asked him for the digest version. sounds a bit like one of my slogans "culture is the machinery of oppression".

[blog freelove999]

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