File spoon-archives/lyotard.archive/lyotard_2001/lyotard.0103, message 1

Subject: Re: Reverse hegemony
Date: Thu, 01 Mar 2001 12:54:44 -0000

About reverse hegemony:

I believe the problem of conceptualising reverse hegemony is much more easy 
if you cut the negative connotation given to hegemony itself. just as the 
concept of ideology became much more useful once it was not seen as an 
aberration of True existential grounds, but as a description of the relation 
of an individual to the community. hegemony is not a system of power that 
can be overthrown and substituted with an ideal community. hegemony is just 
the description of the social mechanisms, of the way the social reality 
works. you can not imagine a society without the hegemonic field of symbolic 
systems, what you can imagine on the other hand is a society in which the 
hegemonic field (the common sense, the consensus, the agreed policies, the 
system,... or any way you want) will be constructed in a radically different 
way: it will not be constructed through hidden, background political 
mechanisms as now, but through a much more open and democratic process and 
mechanisms of power.
i think the best references for conceptualising the politics of emancipation 
including the knowledge of how hegemony works is Foucault and Laclau.


>From: Mary Murphy&Salstrand <>
>Subject: Reverse hegemony
>Date: Wed, 28 Feb 2001 20:25:24 -0600
>JohaN HUGO:
>Just a few notes regarding your comments. If I understood your last post
>right, you seem to arguing for something I would call reverse hegemony.
>Just as I don't believe in the concept of reverse discrimination because
>this fails to recognize the dynamic of power relationships with regard
>to racism, the concept of reverse hegemony appears to fail on similar
>The fact that certain intellectuals on the left can critique the concept
>of hegemony does not mean hegemony thereby becomes powerless or less
>commonsensical.  How likely are these critics to obtain a forum for
>their views in places where it really impacts on others in a way that
>can effect significant change?
>As you point out, the deconstruction of "mass" society means that elites
>can allow greater free speech in marginialized arenas because these do
>not really poise much of a threat and it is now relatively easy to pit
>one group against another. (Divide and canker) Hegemony still remains
>the common sense of the vast majorities. Who cares what the crazies
>As far as the more positive notion of the left creating its own
>hegemony, it gives me a sense of deja vu to think about this in
>connection with the ill-starred counter-culture of the sixties and
>seventies.  Why did this movement fail?  I feel the answer might reveal
>why this idea of hegemony-from-below remains such a problematic

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