What Is Counter Hegemony?

Counter-hegemony is the practice of a subordinate group resisting to the power and control of a dominant group. The social action taken by American civil rights activists in the 1950s and 60s is an example of counter-hegemony.

The word hegemony refers to a dominant group exerting influence and power over another, such as a nation forcing foreign immigrants to give up their own cultural practices and adopt the practices of their new nation. When the subordinate group resists the influence or control of the dominant group, this is known as counter-hegemony. This resistance is common and has occurred in many places and time periods throughout history. Political revolution, including the American revolution, can be seen as a form of counter-hegemony, as can social movements that challenge widely accepted moral standards of a given time, such as rebellious young women wearing pants and cutting their hair in the 1920s.