According to Italian Marxist Antonio Gramsci, power (state) works either through dominance or hegemony. Dominance involves the coercive use of brute force such as the police, army, or the law to control a population or a group. But more often than not, the state usually works through the ” consent” of the people, and this “consent” is often obtained through “cultural hegemony.” In a poltical system based in dominance, no attmept is made to develop a hegemonic project and the subject people are kept under control through brute force and fear of reprisals. In the colonial history, King Leopold’s control over the Congo Free State is one such example of dominance as the only mode of keeping the natives under control.
Of all the Marxist theorists, Louis Althusser was the first one to draw on these Gramscian concepts to offer his famous essay on “Ideology and Ideological State Apparatuses.”