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Types of Hegemony

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  • Category: Law War

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No man wants to live in the shadow of another one’ power, while on the other hand man never gives up the ambition of influencing and even controlling his fellow countrymen. Therefore, the democracy is invented to alleviate the conflict between the instinct of chasing power and the will of equality, namely, democracy is a system to prevent the emergence of dictatorship and ensure the sharing power of all citizens. However, the principle of democracy abided by in the domestic political life never gets the upper hand in the struggle with hegemony in international relations during long history of human being. To some extent, the contemporary and modern international history is also the history of chasing hegemony by powers. According to patterns or methods taken by the hegemonist to maintain hegemony, three different types of hegemonies exist. They are strength hegemony, institution hegemony and culture hegemony.

Strength hegemony is the traditional hegemony. It emphasizes the importance of force. Using force and threat against the territory integrity and political independence of any countries challenging the existing hegemon is its philosophy, which partly results in the outbreak of First World War and Second World War and the advent of cold war. In practice, any hegemon worshiping and cherishing the concept of strength hegemony will concentrate on developing, maintaining and making use of their military and economic power. They tend to ignore the international organizations and laws, or acknowledge them as tools to serve their interests or their rivals.

Institution hegemony is the way and strategy to consolidate existing hegemony structure through designing, maintaining and enforcing international institution. It builds on the existing unchallengeable power of hegemon, such as political and economic power. In other word, institution hegemony depends on strength hegemony. However, contrary to the latter, it attaches much importance to benevolent rule, that is, rule by virtue rather than by force, which decides its emphasis on the importance of mutual interests. Making best use of mutual interests instead of despotism, hegemon wins the support of other countries in the process of establishing international institution. Through international institution created according mostly to its will, hegemon cooperates with other main powers to rule to world.

Culture hegemony ranks highest in the three types of hegemonies. It controls the world through dominating the international main stream cultures. In practice, culture hegemony calls for the hegemon to take advantage of his political, cultural and institutional creation power to disseminate its value standard worldwide, influence other countries and gradually assimilates others. Hence, culture hegemony emphasize civil power and cultural and value identity. Through achieving similar cultures, hegemon can better realize its aim of controlling the world.

To conclude, there are three types of hegemonies. They are different from one another in pattern or level. Meanwhile, they depend on and mix up one another in practice, so it is hard to distinguish them. However, their aim is same, that is, to satisfy the will of hegemon to control the world.

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