Reframing hip-hop's politics
: theorising hegemony in hip-hop studies

Student thesis: Master's ThesisMaster of Philosophy (MPhil)


Hegemony forms a crucial component of a wide variety of approaches to the relation and intersections of culture and politics across a range of academic disciplines. Looking at how it is implicated in prominent theoretical threads in hip-hop studies, namely the articulation of identity, the role of hip-hop in national political movements, and attempts to theorise hip-hop culture in transnational contexts, I intend to clarify how the term is used and explore the consequences of this for future scholarship. This analysis is contextualised in terms of the history of conceptions of hegemony, from the term’s extended revival in the years preceding the Russian Revolution to the institutionalisation of cultural studies, via the works of Antonio Gramsci and his influence on the New Left movement in Britain. I conclude by questioning the frequent invocation of ‘counter-hegemony’ in hip-hop studies, arguing that there has been a tendency to be overly optimistic about the possibilities of such a project at the transnational level. This is briefly contextualised in terms of approaches to this specific issue in the work of theorists in political philosophy, discourse theory, and international relations. The overall aim of this project is therefore to assess the coherency and saliency of the notion of hegemony in hip-hop studies.
Date of Award6 Nov 2018
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Bristol
SupervisorJustin A Williams (Supervisor)

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