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Cultural Imperialism - Essay Example

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The core concern of the essay “Cultural Imperialism” is to examine what is remaining relevant with the arguments and concerns regarding cultural imperialism and the criticisms provided by the contesting theoretical doctrines from the vantage point of the tremendous transformations…
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Cultural Imperialism
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Cultural Imperialism

Download file to see previous pages... Since media plays a vital role in the cultural lives of millions of people and the fact that media sector is by and large controlled by Western interests, there have been arguments in favor of the idea ‘cultural imperialism’. Although the central postulate of cultural imperialism thesis remains valid due to the lopsidedness in the global media market, the so-called cultural imperialism through the Western cultural products cannot be seen as one sided as the theorists of cultural imperialism perspective understood it to be. In the light of the recent developments taking place in the media sector, especially the regional media in the developing countries and the changes bought by the new media technologies, this paper intends to present the basic theoretical tenets of cultural imperialism and the challenges to it from various perspectives. The core concern of the essay is to examine what is remaining relevant with the arguments and concerns regarding cultural imperialism and the criticisms provided by the contesting theoretical doctrines from the vantage point of the tremendous transformations occurring with the global media culture from the very beginning of twenty first century.
Explaining Cultural Imperialism
The widespread availability of American cultural products such as music, television channels, entertainment and informational commodities is one of the important factors that enable the lopsided influence of American culture over the rest of the world. Therefore, Schiller famously defines cultural imperialism as "the sum of 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" (Schiller, 1976: 9). Importantly, Schiller (1969) has found a common ground between the study of media dominance and theories of economic imperialism. For him, it is necessary to look at theories such as world systems and dependency theories in order to explore the dynamics of domination in the sphere of communication. For Schiller, it is nothing but the viability of American industrial economy that furthers "the movements towards international commercialization of broadcasting" (Schiller, 1969: 9). And, hence, the enhanced spread of cultural imperialism.
On the economic realm, the proliferation of American products has a penetrating impact over the determination of the cultural aspects of the lives of millions of people from outside the United States. Many theorists have almost equated cultural imperialism with American cultural imperialism as if the United States alone is the conductor of the concert of global cultural imperialism. What is important to note that there is no single culture that alone oppresses other cultures. With reference to the nation state as the overwhelming reality in the modern world, it is possible to classify cultural imperialism as cultural imperia ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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