Antonio Gramsci, an Italian writer, politician and political theorist at the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century, is best known for his ideas about cultural hegemony. For Gramsci, the elites maintain their control in society, and in the world, not just through military power, violence and political and economic coercion, but also ideologically, through a hegemonic culture in which the values of the bourgeoisie became the ‘common sense’ values of all. Thus a consensus culture developed in which people in the working-class identified their own good with the good of the bourgeoisie, and helped to maintain the status quo rather than revolting. For Gramsci, hegemonic dominance ultimately relied on a “consented” coercion.
This autumn,what with the ceremonial renaming of ‘Royal’ Wooton Bassett, celebrity ‘pimped’ poppies, and the highest ever poppy sales, and now the Military Wives Choir and its show-business backing for the Christmas Number One slot, I’m beginning to wonder whether war is not so bad after all, and whether Jesus in his Sermon on the Mount “blessed are the peacemakers etc…” was mistaken.