Hegemony and Wage Labour in the UK

  • Will Stronge

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


This thesis seeks to determine the relationship between wage labour as a social relation and hegemony (broadly conceived) as a system of asymmetrical power relations. It argues that wage labour is a ‘hegemonic structure’ fundamental to capitalist social relations and for this reason is crucial to accounts of hegemony in a number of ways. The dissertation articulates this thesis from two ‘directions’, that build from engagements with two different theoretical fields: hitherto studies of hegemony on the one hand and theories of the capitalist wage labour process on the other.

Firstly it attempts to construct an account of hegemony that coherently includes wage labour by speaking to what I perceive to be a lacuna in the field of study: a sustained engagement with wage labour as a crucial component of capitalist societies and a fortiori any hegemony – or hegemonic situation – that occurs within them. This gap in the field betrays a lack of history in accounts of modern power in (capitalist) societies but also a general neglect of economic logics and their specificity.

Secondly, and from the reverse ‘direction’ of argument, the project aims to contribute to an account of wage labour within capitalist social relations by bringing the categories taken from the analysis of hegemony (coercion, consent, organic intellectuals, sedimentation, etc.) to bear on the analysis of the labour process itself, and also by situating the wage labour process within (the wider) mechanisms of hegemony (that operate at larger scales of social relations). The thesis uses the UK as the context through which the arguments are expounded.

The thesis concludes with a selection of possible directions for future research, based on the ground established in the foregoing chapters.
Date of AwardDec 2020
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Brighton
SupervisorMark Devenney (Supervisor) & Clare Woodford (Supervisor)

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