The country of Greece has, historically, been one of the most advanced and influential civilizations for humanity. Its scholars, astronomers, philosophers, architects, and artists have transformed the world and are still prevalent and admired today. From the Ancient Greek empires, to its ahead-of-its-time military force, to its artwork and architecture, Greece has paved the way for many of the things we see around us. While most of the time the media’s representation of a country or culture is historically inaccurate, for the most part, the portrayal of Greece by western media has been historically correct. It seems that American culture has been greatly interested in producing and viewing media based on ancient Greece. For example, the movies 300, Troy, and even Disney’s Hercules, have been widely successful in the US. The Iliad, and The Odyssey, based on Greek mythology, are required reading in most US schools and universities. Even some modern movies have taken on Greek culture like, My Big Fat Greek Wedding, The Sisterhood of The Traveling Pants, and Mamma Mia. Greece has clearly had a great presence in western media, and world media, because most of the world’s media stems from the west.
While there is a certain fascination with Greek culture in the west, it seems the feeling is mutual, as much of the media viewed in Greece is imported from the US or Europe. How does this global media exchange effect Greece’s global standing in the “world system”, and, what exactly is the world system. The goal of this essay will be to answer these questions and use the “World Systems Theory” to analyze the past, present, and future of Greek media and world standing.
The World Systems Theory was originated by Immanuel Wallerstein in 1976. It was largely influenced by Marxism and Dependency Theory. In order to correctly apply this theory, it must be defined and explained. First the concept of “world system” must be defined. Wallerstein defines a world system as, “one that has boundaries, structures,member groups, rules of legitimation, and coherence” (Wallerstein). Wallerstein argues that in history there have only been two forms of world systems: world-economies and world-empires. The theory relies on capitalism, and that the world is dependent on the division of labor. Wallerstein explains that there are three levels in World Systems Theory, core, peripheral and semi-peripheral which he describes as, “areas which are in between the core and the periphery on a series of dimensions, such as the complexity of economic activities, strength of the state machinery, cultural integrity, etc. Some of these areas had been core-areas, some had been peripheral areas that were later promoted, so to speak, as a result of the changing geopolitics of an expanding world-economy” (Wallerstein). Essentially, the core countries dominate other countries without being dominated, the semi-peripheral countries are themselves dominated, while also dominating other countries and the peripheral nations are dominated.
Peripheral nations are commonly rich in raw materials, and core nations benefit off of them by redistributing the resources of these nations. Core nations also have access to cheap labor, a market for exports, and skilled professionals who are promoted from peripheral to core (Wallerstein) . Because core nations are commonly most wealthy and powerful, they are able to maintain their status, and because peripheral nations are commonly weak and impoverished they are forced to maintain their status. Semi-peripheral nations are able to migrate levels given the economic and political environment. The World Systems Theory is critical of capitalism because it strictly benefits the dominating nations while keeping the dominated nations in a constant state of subservience. Many peripheral nations are those which were, or currently are, a product of colonialism. When the European countries who had colonized these areas either partially or completely...
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