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Cultural imperialism comprises the cultural aspects of imperialism. Imperialism here refers to the creation and maintenance of unequal relationships between civilizations, favoring the more powerful civilization. Thus, cultural imperialism is the practice of promoting and imposing a culture, usually that of a politically powerful nation, over a less powerful society; in other words, the cultural hegemony of industrialized or economically influential countries which determine general cultural values and standardize civilizations throughout the world. The term is employed especially in the fields of history, cultural studies, and postcolonial theory. It is usually used in a pejorative sense, often in conjunction with calls to reject such influence. Cultural imperialism can take various forms, such as an attitude, a formal policy, or military action, insofar as it reinforces cultural hegemony.
Although the Oxford English Dictionary has a 1921 reference to the "cultural imperialism of the Russians", John Tomlinson, in his book on the subject, writes that the term emerged in the 1960s and has been a focus of research since at least the 1970s. Terms such as "media imperialism", "structural imperialism", "cultural dependency and domination", "cultural synchronization", "electronic colonialism", "ideological imperialism", and "economic imperialism" have all been used to describe the same basic notion of cultural imperialism.
Various academics give various definitions of the term. American media critic Herbert Schiller wrote: "The concept of cultural imperialism today  best describes the sum of the processes by which a society is brought into the modern world system and how its dominating stratum is attracted, pressured, forced, and sometimes bribed into shaping social institutions to correspond to, or even promote, the values and structures of the dominating centre of the system. The public media are the foremost example of operating enterprises that are used in the penetrative process. For penetration on a significant scale the media themselves must be captured by the dominating/penetrating power. This occurs largely through the commercialization of broadcasting."
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