Popular usage equates hegemony with dominance–a meaning far from Antonio Gramsci's original concept where hegemony appears as a contested culture that meets the minimum needs of the majority while serving the interests of the dominant class.
This text is the first to present cultural hegemony in its original form–as a process of consent, resistance, and coercion. Hegemony is illustrated with examples from American history and contemporary culture, including practices that represent race, gender, and class in everyday life.
U.S. cultural hegemony depends in part on how well media, government, and other dominant institutions popularize beliefs and organize practices that promote individualism and consumerism. Corporate dominance and market values reign only through the consent of the majority, which, for the time being - finds material, political, and cultural benefit from existing social relations. As deep social contradictions undermine brittle hegemonic relations, the subordinate majority - including blacks, women, and workers will seek a new cultural hegemony that overcomes race, gender, and class inequality.