Difference Between Hegemony and Ideology

Key Difference – Hegemony vs Ideology
 

Hegemony and Ideology are two concepts that come in social sciences between which a key difference can be identified. In a general sense, hegemony is the dominance of one group or state over another. On the other hand, ideology is a system of ideas forming the basis of an economic or political theory. This highlights that hegemony speaks of a relationship of power that exists between different groups while ideology speaks of a set of ideas. Through this article let us examine the differences between hegemony and ideology in detail.

What is Hegemony?

According to the Oxford English Dictionary, hegemony is the dominance of one group or state over another. This dominance could be economical, political, social or even military. During the ancient days, hegemony was used in a political sense. However, the scope of hegemony has now extended beyond the political realm where it has captured the social and cultural realms as well.

Hegemony was a concept developed and used extensively by Antonio Gramsci. According to his earliest works, hegemony was a system in which the hegemonic class used its political power to control the subaltern classes. However in his Prison Notebooks, Gramsci develops this concept further as he includes intellectual and moral leadership to political leadership. Gramsci highlights that in a hegemonic rule, the consensus is achieved over coercion. He points out that in a hegemonic rule; the ruling class creates a world view to justify the equilibrium of the society.

Difference Between Hegemony and Ideology

Antonio Gramsci

What is Ideology?

Ideology is a system of ideas forming the basis of an economic or political theory. In simple terms, ideology can be understood as a point of view or an outlook to something. It was Louis Althusser who used the concept of ideology and ideological state apparatus in his works. According to Althusser, there are two apparatuses. They are the ideological state apparatus and the repressive state apparatus. He used the term repressive state apparatus to refer to social bodies such as the government and the police. On the other hand, ideological state apparatus refers to social institutions such as religion, media, education, etc. This highlights that the ideology is much more intangible.

According to Marxism, in the capitalist system, the ideology plays a crucial role. It is these systems of beliefs and ideas that mystify the people so that they become incapable of seeing the social realities. It creates a false consciousness among the working classes. This allows the ruling classes to control the modes of production to their advantage.

Key Difference - Hegemony vs Ideology

Louis Althusser

What is the difference between Hegemony and Ideology?

Definitions of Hegemony and Ideology:

Hegemony: Hegemony is the dominance of one group or state over another.

Ideology: Ideology is a system of ideas forming the basis of an economic or political theory.

Characteristics of Hegemony and Ideology:

Concept:

Hegemony: Antonio Gramsci used the concept of hegemony.

Ideology: Louis Althusser used the concept of ideology and ideological state apparatus in his works.

Relationship:

Hegemony: Hegemony is a form of dominance which uses ideology to control people.

Ideology: Ideology operates as an instrument of hegemony.

Scope:

Hegemony: Hegemony captures the entire society.

Ideology: Ideology includes religion, education, law, politics, media, etc.

 

Image Courtesy:

1. Gramsci By Unknown  [Public Domain] via Commons

2. Louis Althusser By Arturo Espinosa [CC BY 2.0] via Flickr