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Hegemony visualization exercise

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Brad Howard

on 11 May 2016

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Transcript of Hegemony visualization exercise

This exercise is designed to help you better define hegemony by connecting the abstract concept to a set of concrete images.
Learning Outcome
Learning Objective
After completing this exercise, you should understand the concept of hegemony.
Select one hegemonic image (one that represents existing power structures) from the news media for each of the following categories: gender, race, class, and sexual orientation.
Write a short paragraph to accompany each image explaining how it illustrates the concept of hegemony.
Present your images and paragraphs as a pdf or, if you prefer, you can also visit Prezi.com, create a free account, and present your images and paragraphs as a Prezi like this one.
This photograph of NASCAR driver Danica Patrick trivializes her accomplishments on the track by reducing her to a sexual object. Rather than being presented actively in her role as a NASCAR driver, she is presented passively as the object of the male gaze. Rather than representing an ideal of gender equality as a driver, Patrick represents an unrealistic ideal of female beauty as just another bikini-clad pin-up girl. Rather than inspiring women to achieve their own goals, it sends the message to women that their primary function is to please men. When women strive to please men rather than their personal ambitions, they participate in their own oppression.
Example 2
These two cover photos represent the same person, O.J. Simpson, and they both come from the same mug shot. However, the version on the Time cover has been digitally altered, darkening his skin and thickening his beard to make him look more sinister. The not-so-subtle racist message is that blackness is associated with criminal behavior. Once internalized this message helps to hide the racism that plagues the criminal justice system, making it seem natural that blacks make up a disproportionate share of the prison population. Such a narrative promotes a sense of self-loathing and acceptance of one's own oppression, transferring the fault from the racists to the victims of institutional racism.
According to Dines & Humez (1995), hegemony “refers "to the process by which those in power secure the consent of the socially subordinated to the system that oppresses or subordinates them. Rather than requiring overt force (as represented by the military or police), the elite, through their control of religious, educational and media institutions, attempt to persuade the populace that the hierarchical social and economic system is fixed and ‘natural,’ and therefore unchangeable. According to Gramsci, however, such consent is never secured once and for all but must continually be sought, and there is always some room for resistance through subversive (counterhegemonic) cultural work” (p. 570).
Headline: Strike Complicates Californians' Commute
Caption: San Francisco commuters waited for a bus Monday, when the strike required many to find new ways to travel.
The story focuses on how the strike inconveniences commuters, thereby pitting the workers against commuters instead of against management, misdirecting the conflict. This ignores the issues and distracts readers from those issues. As Allison Kilkenny writes in The Nation, "This is BART’s first strike in sixteen years. Workers are asking for a wage increase (they haven’t received one in five years) and improved safety measures (bullet-proof glass in station booths, better lighting in tunnels, etc.). The union is asking for a 23 percent raise over four years, and BART countered with an offer of an 8 percent raise over four years, but the union says this offer falls below cost of living increases." When the working class internalize anti-union sentiments like these, they oppose their own interest and participate in their own oppression by opposing strikes because they are a nuisance and/or evidence of greed on the part of workers.

Read more: BART Strike: Another Instance of Media Portraying Workers as Greedy | The Nation http://www.thenation.com/blog/175063/bart-strike-another-instance-media-portraying-workers-greedy#ixzz2ZKtYsMGB
Follow us: @thenation on Twitter | TheNationMagazine on Facebook
Example 3
Visualize Hegemony
See: "It Took Me Years to Believe That Black Lives Matter. Now Here’s What I Need From You"
Full transcript