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  • Cultural imperialism

    Cultural imperialism


    • 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 [1975] 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."



      Successful multicultural societies, be they nations, federations, or other conglomerations of closely interrelated states, discern those aspects of culture that do not threaten union, stability, or prosperity (such as food, holidays, rituals, and music) and allow them to flourish. But they counteract or eradicate the more subversive elements of culture (exclusionary aspects of religion, language, and political/ideological beliefs). History shows that bridging cultural gaps successfully and serving as a home to diverse peoples requires certain social structures, laws, and institutions that transcend culture. Furthermore, the history of a number of ongoing experiments in multiculturalism, such as in the European Union, India, South Africa, Canada and the United States, suggests that workable, if not perfected, integrative models exist. Each is built on the idea that tolerance is crucial to social well-being, and each at times has been threatened by both intolerance and a heightened emphasis on cultural distinctions. The greater public good warrants eliminating those cultural characteristics that promote conflict or prevent harmony, even as less-divisive, more personally observed cultural distinctions are celebrated and preserved.
      • Hamm, Bernd; Russell Charles Smandych (2005). Cultural imperialism: essays on the political economy of cultural domination. Reference, Information and Interdisciplinary Subjects Series. University of Toronto Press. ISBN . 
      • Lechner, Frank; John Boli (2009). The Globalization Reader. Wiley-Blackwell. 
      • Lechner, Frank; John Boli (2012). The Globalization Reader. John Wiley & Sons. ISBN . 
      • Salwen, Michael B. (March 1991). "Critical Studies in Mass Communication". Cultural Imperialism: A Media Effects Approach. 8 (1). 
      • Tomlinson, John (1991). Cultural imperialism: a critical introduction (illustrated, reprint ed.). Continuum International Publishing Group. ISBN . 
      • White, Livingston A. (Spring–Summer 2001). "Reconsidering cultural imperialism theory". Transnational Broadcasting Studies. The Center for Electronic Journalism at the American University in Cairo and the Centre for Middle East Studies, St. Antony’s College, Oxford (6). 
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