This article seeks to further strengthen a sociological turn within International Relations (IR), which aims to make classical social theory fruitful for analysing the transnationalisation of societies. The focus is on the contribution of Antonio Gramsci’s analysis in this regard. A number of scholars have transferred his theory of hegemony to the global level in order to gain a more sophisticated understanding of global power and its transformation in reaction to the deepening of global economic integration. Surprisingly, most neo-Gramscian scholars have devoted little attention to education, despite the importance Gramsci assigned to this social sphere. The article seeks to overcome this lacuna with a study of the internationalisation of higher education since the end of the Second World War. Against the backdrop of the insights this case study provides, it will suggest some modifications of the neo-Gramscian account of hegemony with a view to taking the sociological turn more seriously, and to deepening our understanding of the social quality and the scale of the emerging postnational hegemony.