Gramsci, hegemony, and global civil society networks

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67 Scopus citations


This study offers a first empirical test at a truly global level of two contradictory models of global civil society in the global governance system that are put forth by neo-Gramscian thought. The first model posits that global civil society is coopted by hegemonic capitalist and political elites, and promotes hegemonic interests by distributing neoliberal values and providing a façade of opposition. The second model views global civil society as the infrastructure from which counter-hegemonic resistance, and ultimately a counter-hegemonic historic bloc will evolve and challenge neoliberal hegemony. The predictions that these two views make as to the structure of global civil society networks are tested through network analysis of a matrix of links between 10,001 international NGOs in a purposive sample of INGOs extracted from the database of the Union of International Associations. The findings provide partial support to the predictions of both models, and lead to the conclusion that at present global civil society is in a transitional phase, but that the current infrastructure provided by the global INGOs network is conducive to the development of a counter-hegemonic historic bloc in the future, providing the northern bias in network is decreased. Strategic steps needed to achieve this are presented.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)332-347
Number of pages16
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2006


  • Global civil society
  • Globalization
  • Gramsci
  • Hegemony
  • Neoliberalism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Public Administration
  • Strategy and Management


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