Last updated: September 2, 2019
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is the critical theory based on studying of the international relations and
global political economy. This theory investigates various ideas, institutes
and their material resources as they form concrete contours of the state
formation. The main ideas of this theory is under strong influence of works of
Antonio Gramsci.

   Neo- Gramscianism analyzes how concrete
social forces, the states and the dominating ideological formations define and
keep world order. Proceeding from it, neogramscian approach destroys the
long-term stagnation and contradictions existing between so-called realistic
school of a thought and the liberal theory. This approach makes theoretical
bases of two directions historic as a part of a certain world order, and tries
to find interrelation in the relations between a functional and structural

  In the article
of 1981, Cox demands a critical research of the international relations, in
contrast of theories of the usual “problem- solving theory” which do
not investigate profoundly origin, the nature and development of historical
structures, but accept, for example, that between the state there are
“anarchical” relations.

  Further we
will consider the main ideas stated by Cox in article “Gramsci, hegemony
and the international relations: The essay about a method” the 1983rd
year. This article establishes understanding by Cox of what Gramsci means by
hegemony and concepts, adjacent to it. Cox shows how these concepts can be
adapted, keeping the main sense, not deforming understanding of a problem of a
world order. Cox itself says about the article that it “is not criticism
of the political theory of a research of Gramsci, and only brings some ideas
useful to revision of the current theory of the international relations out of
his theory”.

   In his
article, Cox stops on origin of the theory of hegemony. He writes that there
are two main directions conducting to the idea of hegemony of Gramsci.

   The first
should be looked for from discussions within the Third International concerning
the strategy of Bolshevist revolution and creation of the Soviet socialist state.
“Gramsci, in fact, undertook the idea which was propagandized in circles
of the Third International: workers carry out hegemony over allied classes and
dictatorship over the enemy of classes”. According to Cox, In Northern
Europe, in the countries where capitalism was for the first time established,
hegemony the bourgeoisie was established most fully.

   The second
line leading to the ideas of hegemony of Gramsci is traced in Machiavelli’s
compositions and helps to expand potential scope of this concept even more.
Gramsci analyzed that Machiavelli, especially wrote in work
“Sovereign”, on a problem creation of the new state.

  Cox asks a
question ‘whether the concept of hegemony of Gramsha is applicable at the
international or world level?’


At application of the concept of hegemony in a world
order, becomes important to define when the period of hegemony begins and when
comes to its end. The period in which world hegemony was it is created it is
possible to call hegemonic and in what domination without hegemony, not
hegemonic prevails. Illustrating it, Cox considers the last century and a half
present, divided into four various periods, 1845-1875,1875-1945,1945-1965 and
since 1965 till present.

  It turns out
that historically to become hegemonic, the state have to find and protect world
order which was universal, i.e. not an order in which one state directly
exploits others, but an order, at most of which the states (or, at least those,
within reach from hegemony) which can find interests compatible to the interests.

World supremacy, thus, at the beginning is external
expansion of the internal (national) hegemony established by the dominating
social class.

  Hegemony at
the international level, thus, not just an order between the states. It is an
order in world economy with the dominating way of production which gets into
all countries and connects other subordinates to it ways of production.
Besides, it also a complex of the international social relations connecting
social classes in the different countries. The global hegemony is described as
social structure, economic and political structures. It cannot exist when only
one component functions or prevails. Hegemony is an interaction of all three
structures together. The global hegemony is only in that case possible.

hegemony, besides, is expressed in universal norms, institutes and mechanisms
which establish the general rules of conduct for the states and for those
forces of civil society which work outside national borders – rules which are
supported by the dominating way of production.

  One of
mechanisms via which universal norms of world hegemony are expressed is the
international organization. The international organization functions as process
by means of which institutes of hegemony and ideology are developed.

international organization functions as process by means of which institutes of
hegemony and ideology develop. Among features of the international
organizations which express the role of predominant force are:

1. The organizations include the general rules which
promote expansion of a hegemonic world order.

2. They are a product of such world order.

3. They ideologically legalize norms of a world order.

4. They co-opt elite of the peripheral countries.

5. They absorb the counterhegemonic ideas.

    Also in article Cox argues on the prospects
of counter- hegemony.

   He writes
that prolonged crisis in world economy (which beginning can be carried to the
end of the 1960th and the beginning of the 1970th) is favorable for some
enterprises which can lead to counterhegemonic problems.

   The new
effective political organization will be required to rally the new working
classes generated by the international production and to build the bridge for
peasants and city outcasts. Without it, it is only possible to imagine process
where local political elite, even such which are result of unsuccessful
revolutionary shift strengthens the power in the monopolistic and liberal world
order. Reconstruction of the monopolistic and liberal hegemony will be quite
capable to carry out a transformizm (trasformismo), regulating many types of
National Institutes and the practician, including nationalization of branches.



conclusion Robert Cox gives a conclusion that the problem of change of a world
order begins with long, labor-consuming effort on creation of the new
historical block within national borders.


    As for
present world order that, critically estimating the own theory, Cox says that,
today the world can develop according to two possible scenarios. If to consider
a world order as it appears today, then there is a prevailing historical
structure, also as well as there are public forces which work on an alternative
historical configuration of forces, the rival historical structures.

   One of these
scenarios is that relative decline of the American power concedes to more
multiple world with several centers of world forces. These forces will act as
the continuous agreement of constantly adjustable modus vivendi similar to the
European balance of a power supply system of the 19th century, but now on a
global scale. But one widespread threat will hang over this process of
negotiations on correction of the imperious relations, and it is a problem of
global warming and fragility of the biosphere which puts pressure upon all
mankind to achieve progress in coordination of private interests in common
interests of rescue of the planet.

  Other scenario
is that continuation of fight for world supremacy, the prevailing condition
from the American side, is “a full range of domination”, pushing
together forces of the USA against potential strengthening of the Eurasian
power. War with terrorism which is waged by the USA renews need of the USA for
world supremacy.