Joseph Phelan

Now Is the Time to Shake Up Society at the Roots

When I facilitate trainings for grassroots leaders, allies, and staff on why we do strategic communications work in relation to our community organizing I inevitably talk about hegemony. Hegemony is the common sense we have to challenge when we are trying to make change. The limits of collective imagination and understanding create the limits of the change we can make.  Once, in a training, someone offered this metaphor: hegemony is the water the fish swims in, it shapes the fish’s experience and determines understanding, it is everywhere.  But hegemony isn’t just the water the fish swims in; there are limits to the fish’s world, hard edges beyond which the fish can’t move -- the fishbowl.

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