Reflections on the Politics of Culture

Authors

  • Michael Parenti

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.14452/MR-050-09-1999-02_2

Keywords:

Culture, Media

Abstract

In the academic social sciences, students are taught to think of culture as representing the customs and mores of a society, including its language, art, laws, and religion. Such a definition has a nice neutral sound to it, but culture is anything but neutral. Much of what is thought to be our common culture is the selective transmission of class-dominated values. Antonio Gramsci understood this when he spoke of class hegemony, noting that the state is only the "outer ditch behind which there [stands] a powerful system of fortresses and earthworks," a network of cultural values and institutions not normally thought of as political. What we call "our culture" is largely reflective of existing hegemonic arrangements within the social order, strongly favoring some interests over others.

Published

1999-02-02

Issue

Section

Articles