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In Greek it means "leader" and it was originally used to describe the relationship of Athens to the other Greek city-states that joined it in an alliance against the Persian Empire; what word is it?

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Answer: hegemony

According to S. Ryan Johansson, "Hegemony" in this case "mean[t] that [Athens] organized and directed their combined efforts without securing permanent political power over the other[s]."

By contrast, according to the "world-system theory" of Immanuel Wallerstein, the book's final contributor, "hegemony" means more than mere leadership but less than outright empire. A hegemonic power is "a state ... able to impose its set of rules on the interstate system, and thereby create temporarily a new political order." The hegemon also offers "certain extra advantages for enterprises located within it or protected by it, advantages not accorded by the 'market' but obtained through political pressure."

Source: Hegemony or Empire? Niall Ferguson From Foreign Affairs, September/October 2003 ( )

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