Can China be the Next Hegemon?


Current economic crisis in global scale triggered the debates among the scholars which had been raised during the 1970’s oil crises that on whether U.S.’s global hegemonic power is...

Can China be the Next Hegemon?

Current economic crisis in global scale triggered the debates among the scholars which had been raised during the 1970’s oil crises that on whether U.S.’s global hegemonic power is declining and with impressive economic growth,  can China will replace U.S.’s role in global arena or not. Rather than focusing on the realist understanding of hegemony, Antonia Gramsci’s definitions of hegemony and Robert Cox’s Neo Gramscian definitions of hegemony can be more helpful for the prediction of China’s possible hegemony. According to Gramscian school of thought, a hegemon must have an ability to change and shape the system based on using consent as well as coercion. In order to understand the China’s possible hegemony, it must be understand what hegemony is, how hegemony can be established, how the current hegemon fits this definition and is China fulfilling the hegemonic criteria based on Gramscian school of thought.


 The Definition of Hegemony: Gramscian Perspective

According to Gramscian perspective, the hegemonic system is based on the domination and control of subordinate classes through the consent. In order to create hegemony on the society, material capacity, ideologies and institutions must be created and these three points must be work hand in hand. The creation and combination of these three points called historic bloc according to Gramsci. Historic bloc brings together two concepts which are structure (material factors) and superstructure (ideological factors) and explains the reciprocal interdependence of these two concepts. “An historic bloc cannot exist without a hegemonic social class. Where the hegemonic social class is the dominant class in a country or social formation, the state (in Gramsci’s enlarged concept) maintains consent and identity within the bloc through the propagation of a common culture” (Cox, 168). Historic bloc does not exist by itself rather historic block is created by the dominant class who has a political consciousness and a dominant leader. The dominant class must go in to struggle and create its domination on the other classes and the dominant class must know what it want and it must also serve the interest of the subordinate class. In order to bring the leading class and subordinate class’s interest in harmony, leading class must play the important role in mode of production. “The movement towards hegemony, Gramsci says, is a passage from the structure to the sphere of the complex superstructures by which he means passing from the specific interests of a group or class to the building of institutions and elaboration of ideologies. If they reflect the hegemony, these institutions and ideologies will be universal in form” (Cox, 168). The role of intellectuals in creating the historic bloc via producing the ideologies, supporting the image of ruling class and creating the institutions is very important for Gramsci. Intellectuals are the ones who connect the members of the classes and historical bloc. For Gramsci, state is a place where the dominant class set its hegemony and reflects the coercion side of the hegemony. Besides, the civil society organizations and leaders supporting the dominant class ideologies and playing important part in the dominant classes’ institutions, reflect the consent side of the hegemony.

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