Culture, Hegemony, and Dictatorship in Malawi


African Humanities Program Postdoctoral Fellowships




This project argues that culture is critical in our understanding of the longevity in power, popular support, and legitimacy that some African dictatorships are able to establish, and suggests that we need to go beyond the use of force to account for their longevity. It uses Antonio Gramsci’s concept of hegemony as a delicate equilibrium of the use of force and consent and ability to provide political and ideological leadership as the basis for hegemony. The study examines the cultural basis of political leadership and power of the dictatorship of former president-for-life, Dr. H.K. Banda and the Malawi Congress Party in Malawi as a hegemonic dictatorship. It interrogates the social, cultural, and political discourses as sites of hegemony and of its contestation.