How Useful is the Cultural Imperialism Thesis? INTRODUCTION Globalisation is expanding its horizons. Giants like Coca-Cola, McDonalds, Benetton, and Sony are not only selling their products globally but also specific images and lifestyles. This phenomenon raises the query of how this process is influencing homogenisation and differentiation of global cultural development…
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When these capitalist corporations establish their business in the developing countries they deploy their work ethic, punctuality, thrift, conformity, and hierarchical organisational structures that contribute to amassing economic surpluses. Though these corporations pay a good wage to the employees they hire, ultimately the accumulated surpluses are carried across to the developed Western and/or capitalist societies. The ‘cultural imperialism thesis' caters to this phenomenon of subordination and domination1 CULTURAL IMPERIALISM THESIS We generally refer to the phrase ‘cultural imperialism thesis’ to elucidate the process of deterritorialization. Deterritorialization is reducing the time and space barriers between physical territories hence restructuring the old cultural geographical and social territories.2 For that reason it is appropriate to say that cultural imperialism thesis is a comprehensive framework intended to account for this complex global cultural build-up and the resulting relationships.3 The key elements that this thesis caters to are cultures that are suppressing other weak cultures. First and foremost of these dominant cultures are Western and/or American culture.4 Therefore, this thesis expounds on the strategies used to regulate, deregulate and re-regulate the domination. Often there are historical cultural events that condense a culture’s value systems and its ability to overpower the other. The inequality of conditions that takes place is a key issue discussed in this thesis. This occurrence of historical dominance can be exemplified by referring to the course of colonialism that empowered Western cultures to subordinate the cultures of Asia, Africa, the Americas and certain other regions of the world. The colonisation shows the cultural superiority of the 'West over the Rest’ because the West had a strong economy and liberal democracy that set standards for the weak cultures to follow.5 On this basis, we can say that cultural imperialism works at the conscious and the unconscious level, as it gives people the appropriate standards for their being to which they ought to identify.6 The emergence of capitalism in the Western world is another key element that is covered by the cultural imperialism thesis. Capitalism in the Western world originates from both Western and capitalist values. But when we look into examples of capitalism in Japan we see it was dictatorial to a certain extent, whereas capitalism in the UK was not. Therefore, we know that there is a difference between these. The economic superiority of the first world resulted from the rise of capitalism. It is a well-known phenomenon that the organization, structure and regulations of cultural exchange between the dominant first world and the subordinate developing world have been based on capitalistic principles. Now, the capitalist classes of the first world meander around the world in pursuit of trading opportunities to multiply their trade and profits. The transnational business is a name given to the model of business that could multiply the trade and profit options of the capitalistic class from the first world. Therefore, now the
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“How Useful Is the Cultural Imperialism Thesis Essay”, n.d. https://studentshare.org/history/1396767-how-useful-is-the-cultural-imperialism-thesis.
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