Even if the word "hegemony? linguistically comes from the Greek "egemon? meaning leader or ruler, one can find the roots of this word in Marxist thought as it was first used by Russian Social-Democrats from the late 1890's through the Bolshevik Revolution in 1917. Nevertheless, since the concept has interested many sociologists, politicians, economists, there is not a clear definition of this word as it means different things to different speakers. There are at least four interwoven conceptions in the literature on the international order and the world capitalist system: hegemony as international domination; hegemony as state hegemony; hegemony as consensual domination or ideological hegemony; and hegemony as the exercise of leadership within historical blocs within a particular world order .
[...] In conclusion, one may say that Marxist theories of world capitalist hegemony are useful in many ways as they help enrich the general development of thought on the concept of hegemony through their diverse approaches and the possible perfectibility of their theories. Also, they are useful as they help us understand contemporary trends in International relations. Indeed, however incorrect these Marxist theories might be for some thinkers, no one can neglect the fact that they are useful and absolutely necessary not only for analysing the concept of hegemony, but more generally, for every movement of thought in endless fields such as economics, politics, philosophy, sociology, social science, international relations, and International Political Economy. [...]
[...] This study of the global system has also interested Marxist thinkers such as Arrighi who personally believed that the hegemony we are dealing with is world hegemony. Indeed, the anarchy of the inner state system and the world wars are at the centre of his analysis. This leads us to the third part of the essay as we will be discussing the usefulness of Marxian theories in the understanding of contemporary analyses in International Relations and international Political Economy. One may see when analysing closely Marxian seeds in contemporary schools of thought. [...]
[...] We will not be able to include every thinker in our subject, I will nevertheless try to analyse key Marxian theories which gives an insight in the evolution of Marxist tradition and which have contributed to understanding the evolving historical structures of the world capitalist system. In order to grasp the diversity of Marxian approaches on the conception of hegemony, one should go back to the four definitions of this concept given by William I. Robinson in his essay, Gramsci and Globalisation: from Nation- State to Transnational Hegemony. [...]
[...] The roots of his doctrine are planted firmly in Marxist soil. He finds that it can be possible for capitalism to survive with democracy, through consensual politics. However, what makes his analysis peculiar is the fact that his problematic is intra-societal. A different approach, more inter-societal, can be seen in Arrighi's work and especially in his study, The Long Twentieth Century, as well as his article “Hegemony unravelling I and II'. His analysis of the concept of hegemony is focused on the idea of world hegemony. [...]
[...] Indeed, when Karl Kautsky was identifying this stage of capitalism he called “ultra- imperialism”, he contemplated international co-operation among the leading capitalist states organizing the world for their mutual benefit. In the The way the modern World works, Taylor argues that even if Kautsky's ideas are dated, a co-operational world capitalism today is not an impossible dream given the prerequisite of hegemonial leadership. Moreover, Marxist theories can be also compared to Cosmopolitanism in Martin Wright's perspective of the theories of the international. [...]
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