Sociologic Hegemony

In Chapter 3: Law in the Everyday, Everywhere, Calavita in our Invitation to Law and Society text writes:
“Italian social thinker Antonio Gramsci (1971) called this power to shape reality without calling attention to itself hegemony. Contemporary law and society scholars point out the law is hegemonic because not only does it
shape how we live; it also gives the shape of our lives a taken-for-grantedness.” (pg. 45)
Calavita offers examples of class oppression, gender formation, racial inequality, the language we speak (sonin-law!) and even traffic flow can be identified as hegemonic forces. Here are some more examples and ways

  • anything that is described as commonsense or commonplace, “the order of things,” natural order, natural, human nature can be questioned by scholars as hegemonic.
    -“the power of the ruling class to impose its value system and worldview” (pg. 45)
  • “how inequalities are made to appear part of the natural order of things through law and its associated
    cognitive processes and social structures” (pg. 45) (i.e. morality, labor, capitalism, discipline, punishment)
  • the way law, policy and punishment is considered legitimate even when we see its contradictions
  • the law and the physical, moral, political and economic architectures of discipline that produce social
    difference (race, class, gender).
  • the ideological and political philosophies that undergird the law (like bourgeoisie ideology, capitalist logics,
    and the systems of carceral punishment).
    In this essay, describe an example where power is being enacted and social inequality/differentiation is being
    made. This example can be from your own experience, one of the readings or a news story. How is this
    enactment of power taken for granted and considered “natural” order or common sense? Who/what is
    considered superordinate (more powerful) and who/what is considered subordinate (less powerful/powerless)?
    What would you identify as the hegemonic force or institution that is enacting this power? Tell me what kinds of
    inequalities this hegemonic force perpetuates or what kind of political order or hierarchy of power it enacts and

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