Cultural Imperialism

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American Cultural Imperialism: Fact or Myth? The phenomenon known as globalization has brought sweeping changes to the world. Forces associated with globalization like the spread of capitalism, advancements in communications and information technology, and expansion of the media have contributed to these changes. The main trademark of globalization has been an increasing flow of exchange in trade and culture. With this lowering of barriers, some people have begun to talk of a global culture. Others go even further to fear cultural imperialism from powers dominant in trade products, multinational corporations, and media. More specifically, critics are attacking the American hegemony on culture, with its domination in media and commercial products. However, it is easy to cry wolf in these situations. To determine if American cultural imperialism is occurring, we must examine concepts of cultural imperialism, how it is spread, and cultural imperialist theories in relation to media and commercial products of capitalism, and the counterarguments against those theories. After this careful examination, I will show that the cultural imperialism thesis is severely weakened in the face of human agency and hybridization, and that fears of American hegemony in culture are exaggerated. Establishing a general concept of cultural imperialism is important. The problem with many cultural imperialism arguments is that often they refer to different meanings. For instance, Petras defines cultural imperialism as "the systematic penetration and domination of the cultural life of the popular classes by the ruling class of the West in order to reorder the values, behavior, institutions, and identity of the oppressed peoples to conform with the interests of the imperial classes" (Petras 139). However, his definition may clash with the concept of cultural imperialism formed by other imperialist theorists. In fact, many will find it difficult to provide substantial


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