Cultural Hegemony

Cultural Hegemony is a term which first appeared when Antonio Gramsci, who was an activist, theorist and Marxist philosopher, was imprisoned in a Fascist jail. He began to focus on how power actually worked. He realized that the real power was hidden within the leaders of social institutions, leaders who influenced the values, norms, ideas, expectations and even behavior on society.

A clear definition of this term: Cultural hegemony is the domination of a diverse society by the ruling class, who manipulates the culture of this society through social institutions therefore imposing the ruling class as the accepted cultural norm.

This has been prevalent over the years, as we can see in the example of this advertisement from the 50’s, where media is showing how the perfect house wife should act and be, making that behavior the most accepted and common one.

Cultural hegemony is also present in our daily lives without even noticing, for example in trends about how should we look, fashion trends that we follow, or even in the type of music that we listen to.

When referring to architecture, what came to mind was Frank Lloyd Wright’s ideology of the hearth. He frequently quoted “The hearth is the psychological center of the home” emphasizing the ideals of family values and the need to have a space to come together.  He originated the design of the hearth where now all residential homes have a fireplace, creating a central space where the family spends time together.


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