The Persistent Structure of Hegemony in the Eurovision Song Contest

Gad Yair, Daniel Maman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Scopus citations


The Eurovision Song Contest is an international contest of artistic prowess. The organization of the voting process in the contest aims to create a ‘veil of ignorance’ that promotes unbiased evaluations by providing an equal opportunity for all contestants. This study scrutinizes the departure of the Eurovision Song Contest's outcomes from its ideal organizational conception and points to systematic preferences among European blocs. By analyzing the patterns of relations between four empirically derived European blocs, this study shows that hegemony results from the unique structural position that the Western bloc occupies. This bloc enjoys a persistent position of a tertius gaudens that results from the fact that (a) nations in this bloc favor each other and export few points to other blocs; (b) the Northern and Mediterranean blocs avoid each other, and therefore allocate their surplus votes to the Western bloc. The Western bloc longitudinally sustains its hegemonic position through the persistence of between- and within-bloc exchange relations. The assumed veil of ignorance legitimizes this structural advantage. We propose that the fairness of the ‘veil or ignorance’ both secures hegemony and - when analyzed appropriately - helps to uncover it.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)309-325
Number of pages17
JournalActa Sociologica
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Jan 1996
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science


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