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By melnie123 Dec 16, 2012 763 Words
The theory of cultural imperialism in media is where one culture controls another, forcing

it's culture to change to the controlling one . This theory is said to have first developed in the

mid-twentieth century, and initially it was a response to the changes society was undergoing after

the development of improved telecommunications. Various terms such as "media imperialism",

"structural imperialism", and "cultural dependency and domination", (L. White) have all been used

to describe the same fundamental idea of cultural imperialism. Many scholars give numerous

definitions of the term. American media critic Herbert Schiller states: “The concept of cultural

imperialism today [1975] best describes the sum of ...broadcasting”.Cultural imperialism can take

the form of an active, general feeling. Even though numerous illustrations of globalization dislocate

it throughout the 1980s’, the cultural imperialism theory has been awaken in the world we live in

today, countries over seas feel that the US is purposefully imposing its philosophies, principals, and

ideologies to the rest of the world.

Western Civilizations generate the bulk of media whether it be news, movies, or magazines

they can produce all of this media because they have the money to do so. Other countries buy these

productions at a lower rate because it is easier than to make their own. Consequently foreign

countries are forced to watch media that is filled with the Western world’s way of living, thoughts

and beliefs. Thus making foreign countries do the same things western countries do and

demolish their own culture. Throughout human history, people have exchanged cultural experience,

ideas, beliefs, and products through, trade and migrations. Technology is now able to spread ideas to the masses, this was something that was not possible before. The scale in which U.S. cultural

products are being disbursed and consumed has reached a whole new level than what was seen in

the past.

Some examples of cultural imperialism can be fast foods and beverage companies that

make it very apparent that they play a role in cultural imperialism. Brands like McDonalds, Pepsi

and Starbucks all can be scrutinize on the basis of their commercials. When we view their

commercials in different parts of the world , it is obvious that they strive to bring that “American

Way of Living” to other countries and traditions. All commercials imitate this living culture and

Cultural Imperialism of United States of America, and America does a good job at doing just that.

Disney serves as another example it creates a sense of cultural imperialism with its cartoon

characters among children in different countries in the world whether they have a conscious or they

don’t about what they are watching, children are effected from these point of views. There is some

sort of subliminal messaging going on, and it leads one to believe that this is how we should view

the western countries.

Cultural imperialism has its pros and cons while nations attractions with media can have

various results. we can see the women rights example as a positive American way of living and its

portrayal of women as powerful images in other country’s media as well. We can not ignore the

fact that women have now taken on roles as executives, artists, doctors and lawyers. Women have

started to act powerful , and they have created activist revolutions to become like them. Both in

America and other countries, this side of the cultural imperialism has gained many supporters. Like

positives there can be a negatives, media channels like CNN depict only the American side

of some actualities for instance the Iraq War. What is shown are from the Americans stand point

and this tends to influence others people’s views with the thought that the war is constitutional to

make Iraq more of a civilized country.
Herbert Schiller showed us that Western culture, exemplified Hollywood, he believed that

this was engulfing the world, these actions lead to the term that we know today as cultural

imperialism, he argued that U.S. companies are controlling cultural life in foreign countries .This

can be seen in dress and speech of people through out the world. Schiller coined the term “cultural

imperialism” to characterize the way in which business, including the media, of developed countries

govern developing countries. There are many examples that show this theory, and as media and

technology grow so will there impact throughout the world.


1."Cultural Imperialism - New Influence." New Influence - Thoughts on media & technology. N.p., 1 June 2001. Web. 19 Nov. 2012. .

2.White, Livingston A.. "Reconsidering cultural imperialism theory." TBS: 6.6 (2001): 2. Print.


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