Sociolegal Hegenomy

I will provide the professors instructions. She emphasizes that she wants the students to use 3 citations from the class reading and 3 glossary terms, which I will also provide. Please include 🙂



In Chapter 3: Law in the Everyday, Everywhere, Calavita in our Invitation to Law and Society text writes:

“Italian social thinker Antonio Gramsci (1971) called this power to shape reality without calling attention to itself hegemony. Contemporary law and society scholars point out the law is hegemonic because not only does it shape how we live; it also gives the shape of our lives a taken-for-grantedness.” (pg. 45)

Calavita offers examples of class oppression, gender formation, racial inequality, the language we speak (son-in-law!) and even traffic flow can be identified as hegemonic forces. Here are some more examples and ways to think about hegemony:

– anything that is described as commonsense or commonplace, “the order of things,” natural order, natural, human nature can be questioned by scholars as hegemonic.

-“the power of the ruling class to impose its value system and worldview” (pg. 45)

– “how inequalities are made to appear part of the natural order of things through law and its associated cognitive processes and social structures” (pg. 45) (i.e. morality, labor, capitalism, discipline, punishment)

– the way law, policy and punishment is considered legitimate even when we see its contradictions

– the law and the physical, moral, political and economic architectures of discipline that produce social difference (race, class, gender).

– the ideological and political philosophies that undergird the law (like bourgeoisie ideology, capitalist logics, and the systems of carceral punishment).

In this essay, describe an example where power is being enacted and social inequality/differentiation is being made. This example can be from your own experience, one of the readings or a news story. How is this enactment of power taken for granted and considered “natural” order or common sense? Who/what is considered superordinate (more powerful) and who/what is considered subordinate (less powerful/powerless)? What would you identify as the hegemonic force or institution that is enacting this power? Tell me what kinds of inequalities this hegemonic force perpetuates or what kind of political order or hierarchy of power it enacts and reproduces.

Then, tell me a way that people can/do challenge this hegemonic force — What are some ways people resist hegemonic ways of being? What is a “weapon of the weak” (Scott 1985 — See glossary) for people in your context? These forms of resistance can be small and everyday OR can be large scale collective social movements. For some extra help on resistance to hegemony in the everyday, please refer to the reading, Ewick & Sibley 2003 (attached).

3 pages double-spaced. 12pt font. Times New Roman. Use APA Citations (in text & bibliography). Use AT LEAST 3 citations from our class reading to analyze these examples AND at least 3-4 GLOSSARY TERMS from classes 1-15 with an emphasis on classes 8-15.

For example, if I am writing about the hegemony of carceral architectures — I would describe the “prisonization” of poor, black neighborhoods in Chicago (cite Shabaz). I would discuss how public housing located in those neighborhoods and the policing of those neighborhoods make it seem like everyday life “naturally” resembles the prison institution. Such architectures of containment and control make it seem commonplace and commonsense to associate blackness with criminality through the working of carceral hegemony. Yet, people who live in these neighborhoods resist by surviving, take care of one another and organizing to fight for better housing conditions. (*I would be more specific and use more of our class readings to flesh out this paper of course.)

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