Globalization Counter Hegemonic Globalization Abstract


Globalization:Counter Hegemonic Globalization


Forcesof hegemony and counter hegemony play a critical role in shapingsocial movements. Counter hegemonic globalization is a socialmovement that is against the modern view of globalization, which isthe neoliberal globalization. The purpose of this paper is to providea discussion as to why counter hegemonic globalization can beconsidered to be counter hegemonic. It goes ahead to discuss thehegemonic forces that it is trying to fight, how these forces are atplay and an argument on the effectiveness of the social movement inbringing about change. The discussion incorporates works of AntonioGramsci and other renowned authors on hegemony and counter hegemony.

Theforces of hegemony and counter hegemony are critical in the formationand shaping of the social movements. Hegemonic forces are theprocesses through that domineering culture remains in its dominantposition. In most cases, this culture is considered self-centeredbenefiting only a few powerful people. There are rampant cases ofbureaucracy to make people view as if power is not attached to aparticular individual. This is in line with the teachings of Gramsciwho saw ideology and political action as service to the rulingparties (Dante, 1990). For instance, the employment of police forceand military personnel to help fight any opposition that may beencountered. Counter hegemonic forces, on the other hand, are theforces that try to change the domineering culture by coming up with amore equitable culture for the fair and equitable wealth andresources distribution for all members of the society. Still, Gramsciemployed the ideology of Marx to foresee the possibility of creationof ideologies that will represent the interest of the majoritymembers in the society by breaking the ideologies of the ruling class(Robert, 1983). Counter hegemonic globalization is a good example ofa social movement that is counter hegemonic. This discussion willcenter on the counter hegemonic globalization movement.

Counterhegemonic globalization has its base on globalization and challengesthe modern views presented by globalization, which is ideallyneoliberal globalization. Counter hegemonic globalization movementcan be considered counter hegemonic because it challenges anddisputes the ideas behind neo-liberal globalization. Neo-liberalglobalization presents domination as a result of developments in thetransportation, transnational networks, and communication systems asa natural and imminent course for globalization. Instead, counterhegemonic globalization proposes that transnational systems can betapped as a means of creation and equitable wealth and powerdistribution as well as sustainable communities (Allan, 1990).

Whenpeople talk about globalization, they imply the current system oftransnational domination that is better known as neo-liberalglobalization. This form of globalization is inequitable with powerand resources concentrated in the hands of a few powerfulindividuals. This economic policy where wealth and resources areconcentrated in the hands of a few individual, mostly those in power,came about more than two decades ago. One of the major effects ofneo-liberal globalization is that the gap between the rich and thepoor keeps widening in that the rich grow richer while the poor growpoorer. The Neo-liberal globalization incorporates issues like rulingthe market the reduction of public expenditure, privatization, andderegulation. It concurs with the perception discussed by Robert,(1983) about the perception of the Gramsci definition of hegemony.

Throughruling the market, enterprises, and private enterprises are freedfrom any bonds that are imposed by A. The state does not put intoconsideration the social damage resulting from this freedom. In sucha case, international trade and investment is opened up, there iswage the reduction and elimination of the rights of workers throughde-unionization of employees, and lack of price controls. Thesemeasures are aimed at freeing movement of goods, services, andcapital. Unfortunately, the positive impact of these measures is feltby the powerful and mighty. Again, the reduction of the publicexpenditure implies the reduction of safety and resources for thepoor. This is because the cut in expenditure generally affects thebasic amenities such as roads maintenance, supply of water, health,and education. These are hegemonic forces that keep on widening thegap between the mighty and the poor.

Neo-liberalglobalization also ends in the privatization of the sectors that werepreviously owned by the state. This perception was elaborated byGramsci who helped enlarge his definition for the state. In such asituation, the services, goods, and enterprises belonging to thestate are sold to private investors (Vicki, 1999). Such includefinancial institutions, railway roads, major industries, schools,water resources, hospitals, and electricity. Despite thatprivatization is always aimed at improved and better efficiency, ithas a negative impact on the public in that concentration of wealthan resources is left at the hands of few rich and powerfulindividuals. The rest of the public, which is mainly composed of themajority poor, is forced to pay more for goods and services thuswidening further the gap between the rich and the poor. Deregulationon the other hand results in the reduction of influence of the statein the control of things that may result in less profit. Thisstretches to the protection of the environment the citizens work inas well as safety at work places.

Whycounter-hegemonic globalization is considered counter hegemonic

Whenpeople talk about globalization, they refer to the existing system oftransnational domination or hegemony, which is better known asneo-liberal globalization (Brand, 2005). Hegemony in this caseimplies the influence or authority some people have over others.Hegemony has different levels and stages as proposed by Gramsci. Thestages are very relevant in the formation of counter hegemony thatincorporates the process through that the subordinate classeschallenge the dominating hegemony to come up with an alternativehegemony (Adkin, 1992). A good example of a case of a hegemonypractice is the dominion a political group has over the state orsociety. Any social movement that comes up with ideologies thatcontradict that of the existing and domineering culture is said to becounter hegemonic. Counter hegemonic globalization, in this case is acounter hegemonic force in that it challenges the current system oftransnational domination together with the ideologies behind it. Thebasis underlying the formation of the counter hegemonic globalizationmovement was to fight for good working environment as well asequitable and fair distribution of resources and income that isagainst the current policy of dominant authority.

Theactivists in the counter hegemonic globalization movement are jointlyknown as the global justice movement (Carroll, 2006). The mainperspective of counter hegemonic globalization is to challenge themodern view of globalization. The movement challenges the main ideaof neo-liberal globalization that is ideally the system ofdomination. It questions the nature of neo-liberal globalization thatstipulates globalization is a natural and unavoidable. The system ofdomination employed by neo-liberal globalization is presented asconsequential when it comes to the development of communication,transnational networks, and communication sectors. Counter hegemonicglobalization on the other hand proposes that these transnationalconnections can be instead tapped to result in a more and betterequity in the distribution of resources such as wealth, power, andmore sustainable communities (Evans, 2005). In contrast with theneo-liberal, counter hegemonic globalization applies assets ofglobalization to fight any dominance by hegemony. The operations ofcounter hegemonic globalization stress on the empowerment of allpeople in a fair and equitable process. It is important to note thatcounter hegemonic force is not purely intended to challenge theprojects by the hegemonic forces.

Hegemonicforces challenged by counter hegemonic globalization

Theprojects under the counter hegemonic globalization were introduced inAmerica in late nineteenth century because of the neo-liberalpolicies during that time. The basis for the formation of themovement was drawn from the struggle endured by labor unions toensure good work environment and equity in the distribution ofwelfare (Walter, 1980). This implied that the current situations didnot provide grounds for such. These basically formed the hegemonicforces being challenged by counter hegemonic globalization. Thehegemonic forces being challenged resulted from the policiespracticed by the neo-liberal globalization. The policies were onlybenefiting a few individuals because power and wealth was not equallyand fairly distributed but was concentrated in the hands of a few.The hegemonies in the case of creation of counter hegemonicglobalization movement were privatization and ruling the market.

Privatizationof public and state owned enterprises had become rampant for thereasons that it would result in efficiency and effectiveness in themanagement of the same. Various financial institutions, industries,and hospitals had become privatized in the wake of neo-liberalism.According to the counter hegemonic activists, these moves were onlyaimed at concentrating wealth in the few powerful while making theliving standards for the common citizen unfriendly. The neo-liberalsalso initiated policies speculated to free enterprises and especiallythe private ones from the government bonds despite the damage itplaced on the public. These are basically the major forces thatprompted the formation of the counter hegemonic globalization tofight the effects imposed on the public by such policies.

Formationand fighting back of counter hegemonic forces

Strugglesemanating from social justices arise from competition betweenhegemonic and non-hegemonic forces (Carroll, 2010). The formation ofcounter hegemonic forces is basically because the current hegemonicforces are not fit for the common citizen. The counter hegemonicforces were thus intended to shape and change the systems in placeunder the neo-liberal globalization. It was evident that neo-liberalglobalization acted as globalization from above in that, capitalismwas its nature. This promoted individual liberty and abundance ofmaterials thus creation of optimal choices for all consumers. Thedoctrine encompassed by the neo-liberalists’ blinded people bylocating justice in the market mechanisms yet it insinuates thatsocial justice is just but mirages in the minds of the citizens andshould not be questioned. It is clearly logical that neo-liberalglobalization is painful and consequential to the majority peoplesubjected to its policies and only benefits few. These are the issuesthat prompted the formation of the counter hegemonic globalization toease the effects of the neo-liberal globalization.

Theformation of counter hegemonic forces is not usually easy because itis in many cases met by objection by the existing hegemonic forces.In most cases, the counter hegemonic forces may fail because thehegemonic forces are keen to observe any countering forces and fightback. As a result, counter hegemonic forces should be apt indesigning tactics to fight back and in the end win over the hegemonicforces. The main form of fight back applied by the counter hegemonicglobalization was through the formation of co-operations. As at thepresent, the local and trade unions are a critical component in thecounter hegemonic globalization movement. Their operations werestrengthened through formation of joint ventures. With the originfrom workers movement, the counter hegemonic globalization has beenexpanded to form various social movements. The major primary pillarsthat form the counter hegemonic globalization movement include thewomen’s, labor, and the environmental movements. The success ofthese social movements lied in their ability to work together bycomplementing and generating spectacular alliances amongst them.

Theneo-liberal globalization influenced labor in a way that it hadsystematic reconstruction into a spot market instead of the socialcontracts between any employer and its employees (Crehan, 2002). Insuch a set-up, employment was obtained through outsourcing andinformal procedures across different countries. Labor was traded withlittle expectations as the employment contract dictates. Theseresulted in security threatening issues prompting the action ofglobal labor solidarity. Many NGO’s and activities joined hands andefforts to fights for labor security and save the globe from beingswept by these powerful hegemonies. These joint ventures were verycritical for the counter hegemonic movement to fight the hegemonicforces.

Thegrowth of the counter hegemonic globalization movement has beencritical in helping fight the hegemonic forces. Although the growthof membership in the movement is hard to measure, the reflectionsfrom their meetings can show an increase in their numbers. Because ofthe increased numbers, the counter hegemonic movement has been in aposition to increase their ability to counter the opposition. Thisquantitative growth was very key in the fighting of the oppositionthat basically is the hegemonic forces.

Thehegemonic forces challenged by the counter hegemonic globalizationrevolve around lack of fair and equitable distribution of wealth(Evans, 2005). The state and those in power are fighting to have theneo-liberal globalization remain in place. On the other hand, theactivists from counter hegemonic globalization are fighting to ensurethat the policies practiced by these neo-liberalists are discardedfor the good of all citizens. Social struggles result fromcompetition between hegemonic and non-hegemonic forces. The formationof the counter hegemonic globalization was to fight the prevailinghegemonic forces that resulted in inequalities in the distributionand allocation of wealth and resources.

Effectivenessof counter hegemonic globalization

Thecounter hegemonic globalization movement has been effective increating change. This is due to the fact that the activists were in aposition to come up with an argument that can be tapped to constructa better and equitable wealth and power distribution. Again, theyproposed construction of more sociable and ecologically sustainedcommunities. These activists were also successful in designingideologies that stood in opposition to the neo-liberal globalization.The effectiveness of the counter hegemonic globalization can also bemeasured by the growth in its membership. Apart from theirquantitative growth, the counter hegemonic globalization was mostimportantly been able to seize the imaginations from the opposition.


Thehegemonic and counter hegemonic forces work together in any state atany particular point in time. These forces always work in opposition.At no point did hegemonic forces and policies work for the benefit ofthe majority members of a state. In a situation where hegemony seemedrampant, it had blinded people to seem beneficial to the entire statebut that was not the case in reality. Hegemony policies werestructured in a way that it seemed acceptable despite that it wasoppressive to the members. Hegemony worked to induce the oppressedmembers such that they could freely agree and consent to their ownoppression and misery. This prompted the formation of counterhegemonic movements by the activists who were keen to observe theoppression on citizens by the hegemonic forces. This gave birth tothe counter hegemonic movements whose ideologies contradicted thoseof the neo-liberal globalization. The counter hegemonic globalizationmovement has been at the center of this study. The major hegemonicforces it was formed to fight were majorly privatization and rulingthe market. The counter hegemonic globalization can be said to beeffective because of the high number of registrations and the factthat they were able to stop the spread of the neo-liberalglobalization. The works of Gramsci, that have been preeminent in thestudy proposed for a change from capitalist way of actions to a morefree and fair policy resulting in equitable distribution of wealth.


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