Publication Details

This journal article was originally published as Ashbolt, A, Hegemony and the sixties: observations, polemics, meanderings, Rethinking Marxism: a Journal of Economics, Culture & Society, 19(2), 2007, 208-220.


The concept of cultural hegemony and the 1960s are interconnected in important ways. First, it was in the 1960s that a keen interest in the concept developed. Second, the battle for cultural hegemony today takes place in the shadow of the sixties. The neoconservative agenda has been developed with reference to Vietnam and the liberation movements of the 1960s. The neoconservatives certainly saw sixties radicalism as a challenge to power and privilege. Ironically, some on the Left now beg to disagree and see the radical sixties, in particular the counterculture, as paving the way for a new phase of consumer capitalism. This paper argues that despite the contradictions of cultural radicalism, there were genuine challenges to hegemony in the sixties and that it is important to keep alive the Utopian spirit of radicalism in that period.



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