“It terrifies me, the fragility of these moments in our lives.”
Tuesday, 1 November 2016
What Is the Meaning of Cultural Imperialism?
Is the Meaning of Cultural Imperialism?
Cambridge dictionary quite simply defines cultural imperialism as
one “culture of a large and powerful country, organization, etc.
having a great influence on another less powerful country." To
truly understand the modern meaning and significance of cultural
imperialism, however, you have to know more than its basic
dictionary definition. As globalization, media proliferation and
instant worldwide communication become the norm, cultural
imperialism is perhaps more significant now than ever before.
to the theory of cultural imperialism, less economically prominent
cultures essentially import culture from wealthier countries --
chiefly Western countries, which have the economic means necessary
to produce a majority of the world's cultural media -- mostly via
the global transmission of media. As one society exerts cultural
influence over another, the latter society adopts its customs,
philosophies, worldviews and general ways of life. Under the
imposition of another culture, the “lesser” culture is thought
to lose some of its own cultural identity in the process.
Herbert Schiller's book “Communication and Cultural Domination”
first coined the phrase in 1976, the concept of cultural
imperialism is often used to refer to the idea of America exerting
cultural influence over the rest of the world, with a particularly
powerful imposition on Third World countries. Examples of American
cultural imperialism include brand name products, mass-produced
food and, perhaps of primary importance, video media. While this
may come with some positive effects -- showing women's rights or
racial equality in a positive light, for example -- it also tends
to paint America as a leader or hero, potentially exerting a
negative effect on the viewer's perception of his own country or
other non-American cultures.
cultural imperialism may also extend to the development of
governmental and economic systems, it largely focuses on the
assimilation of media, including literature, film, television,
music and Internet content, among other forms. This concept, known
as media imperialism, refers to a situation in which a culture is
chiefly exposed to the media interests of another society rather
than their own. This occurs without reciprocation -- the affected
country or culture's media is not exported in turn to the
influencing country in any significant fashion, making media and
cultural imperialism a strictly one-way street.
the prevalence of the term, the idea of cultural imperialism is not
without its detractors. Some point out that the concept assumes
that human beings lack free will, painting them as mindlessly
assimilating what they absorb through media without retaining their
own personal frame of reference. Other critics note that while
economic aspects of cultural imperialism can be concretely
measured, the cultural component is subjective and difficult or
impossible to quantify.