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Current Situation in the USA and Gramsci’s Hegemony Theory

Gramsci’s hegemony theory, though it came from his critique of the deterministic economist interpretation of historical materialism, can explain the cultural, moral, and ideological leaderships following the global financial crisis and the contradictory nature of the prevailing situation in the USA. In this idea of leadership, leadership is exercised in ethic-political, economic, and function. Besides, leadership is also based on consent and coercion. The recently elected leaders face opposition from labor, environment, feminists, and indigenous movements because of the presumed changes in the concept of hegemony, consent of allies, and subalterns. Leaders need to gain the approval and will of the people, especially the subalterns. However, the economic situation, environmental changes, and pressures associated with immigration, social discontent, and political polarization have led to outbursts of movement and further destabilized the already overwhelming turbulence due to their ability to trigger confrontations, intimidations, and violence against the elected leaders or other groups.

The global financial crisis of 2008, unlike the crisis of the 1970s, was gradually replaced by neoliberalism. It has been hard for neoliberalism to maintain its dominance over the working and middle classes. Gramsci explains this situation as existing between two overlapping spheres: the rule by force and civil society -governed through consent. Civil society, according to Gramsci, is the public sphere in which trade unions and political orientations and movements gained concessions from the bourgeois and developed their ideas and beliefs. This set of values threaten to dominate, defeat, and control other cultures within the jurisdiction (Kasiyarno, 2014). The concept of bourgeois notion of hegemony has been reproduced and spread in the media, higher education, and religious institutions and thus led to the manufacturing of consent and legitimacy. These concepts presented by Gramsci are practical and warn of the chances and possibilities of movements or revolutions because of the struggle for control and approval. New hegemony and intellectual dominance cannot be quickly developed mainly by the newly elected leaders because of these challenges. The decline in the US hegemonic has been spearheaded by the inability of the federal government to provide for the public good in addressing the challenges of collective challenges. The US did not seem to deteriorate after the 1970s crisis due to the introduction of new thought and the establishment of economic interdependence among the powerful capitalist countries. However, the contradiction persists in the belief and argument that the USA has structural power focused on the material, normative perspectives, and authoritative. The power of the state is not created incomprehension of the socio-economic and institutional capabilities, resources, and class structure. This explains how the country’s hegemony has not been able to rise after the great crisis of 2008. Therefore, it can be argued that analysis of the US power is based on the broader sphere of the reductionists’ empirical observations and structural power strategies, which perceive economic stabilization as challenging states’ autonomy.

Additionally, the general contradictory nature of the USA after the election of new governments results from the failure to live up to the obligations. Consultations seeking to address the challenges are feeble, and efforts to develop formal decisions are undermined and downsized. Hence, the US needs to drive and sustain the structural mechanisms within its jurisdictions and not damage the financial organizations but provide the ability to maneuver through economic globalization. Using Gramsci’s theory of hegemony, the US is a robust political society leading its sectors effectively through legal institutions and making the subjects agree to the status quo. Besides, there is the more effective use of these existing institutions to achieve relevant and valuable products that conform with society’s demands. However, the US’ labor, environment, feminist and indigenous issues have not been provided with the amble space permitting the development and thriving of popular culture. Therefore, the newly elected leaders can achieve more peaceful coexistence with the subjects by developing the possibilities and limitations provided through legal institutions and taking a position in the international arena to review how cultural influence can be extended beyond the immediate needs of those having contradicting opinions.

The set of values, beliefs, ideas, and cultural activities determine how a political sphere in a society can handle its challenges. The US hegemonic culture began with the imperial heritage of the UK, its ancestors, and national culture; however, the productive part of the US economy has been exhausted and has reached its cap. Though it is inconceivable, the rise in finance and challenges in sustainability following the economic crisis of 2008 and the lack of subsequent replacements of neoliberalism confirms the situation. This has resulted in pointing fingers between individuals and groups who believe they can develop a better US through hegemony, thus resulting in movements, opposition, violence, intimidations, and confrontations such as the observed insurrection of the US Capitol Building. The issues of economic challenges, environment, and immigration result from the same situation and breed social discontent and political polarization.

On the contrary, the condition affecting the US has been termed as resulting from approaches used in focusing attention to more pressing issues of domination and power. The power of the US is defined by the national interests represented by the elected leaders. A deeper understanding of the interplay between class, socio-economic, resources, and legal institutions used to shape the structure of the government is needed to determine the dominant interests of the people in the most pressing issues. Legal institutions, same as elected leaders, influence the cultural dynamics of the nation. Normative dimensions and contributions of institutions cannot be underestimated because they play a significant role in social order construction and power distribution among the classes of citizens. Labor, feminism, environment, and indigenous issues are addressed adequately by the newly elected leaders through the stipulated institutions. The indigenous populations have long engaged in conflicts around sovereignty and battles regain treaty. Elected leaders address the situation by intersecting the movement campaigns with social movements accounting for history and internal colonialism. In labor, the federal government, through survey, determines the number of unemployed people, job losers, and those on temporary jobs every two months (BLS, 2022). The leaders’ will rests in understanding the necessary items needed to institute changes and the process of accommodating those with contrary opinions.

In conclusion, state formation and politics present moments of transnational dynamics that contribute to broad debates over issues concerning legal institutions and various matters of public interests such as environment, labor, feminism, and indigenous people. Also, social relations and capitalist processes affect how economic issues are operated within the political parties. Understanding of how capital societies create crystal combinations in class developments and strata operations is made more evident by Gramsci’s hegemony theory. Leadership is characterized by ethic-political, financial, and functional capabilities and, besides consent and coercion aiming at bringing those with contrary opinions on board. The elected leaders have more significant amounts of opposing ideas from movements such as labor, environment, feminists, and indigenous due to their possible changes in the whole concept in the consent of allies and subalterns. Significantly practical leaders gain the consent and will of those led, especially the subalterns, to make the government-run smoothly. However, the prevailing economic situation, environmental issues, immigration, social discontent, and political polarizations cause a delay in the implementation of critical items leading to outbursts of movements that exacerbate the already overwhelming turbulence.


BLS. (2022). Bureau of Labor Statistics, US Department of Labor.

Kasiyarno, K. (2014). The ‘American’ hegemonic Culture: Its Roots, Features and Implications To World Culture. Rubikon: Journal of Transnational American Studies1(1), 19-30.


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