A Study of the Cultural Imperialism Theory

Topics: Culture, Western culture, Western world Pages: 12 (3998 words) Published: January 18, 2013
This paper explores the validity of the Cultural Imperialism Theory which says the Western culture has dominated the cultures of developing Nations. It examines to what extent and how the Western world in the real sense has dominated the developing countries. The study further examined the means through which the developing countries are being dominated culturally by the Western culture. The paper further looked at both the negative and the positive effects of cultural imperialism. It concluded that though the western world is succeeding in eroding the culture of developing countries and Nigeria as a study, Nigeria as a Nation should put on some safety belt in safeguarding our heritage.

Culture is the way of life of a set of people. It encompasses the knowledge, ideas, beliefs, values, standards, and sentiments prevalent in the group. According to Charles A. Ellwood, an American Sociologist, culture is the “collective name for all behavior patterns socially acquired and socially transmitted by means of symbols”. Dare A., defines Culture as the collectivity of human activities and general principles that tend to guide ideas of a group of people with shared traditions (general acceptability), which are passed on, instilled into generation (socialization) and reinvigorated by members of the group (sustainability) while Imperialism as defined by The Dictionary of Human Geography is the creation and maintenance of an unequal economic, cultural and territorial relationship, usually between states and often in the form of an empire, based on domination and subordination

The Theorist of Cultural Imperialism theory, Herb Schiller postulated that Western nations dominate the media around the world which in return has a powerful effect on Third World Cultures by means of imposing on them, western views thereby destroying their native cultures Western Civilization produces the majority of the media (film, news, comics, etc.) because they have the money to do so. The rest of the world purchases those productions because it is cheaper for them to do so rather than produce their own. Therefore, Third World countries are watching media filled with the Western world's way of living, believing, and thinking. The third world cultures then start to want and do the same things in their countries and destroy their own culture. In cultural Imperialism theory, the key words are culture and imperialism. According to Anaeto G., Onabajo, O. and Osifeso, J. (2008), they wrote that “the western countries are technologically developed in television and motion programmes and developing countries that are not technologically developed depend on the programmes from the developed countries. This means that the programmes from the developed counties which portray their culture will be imbibed by the developing nations. This western culture now dominates our local culture simply because we are consuming their mass media messages”. The assumptions of the theory according to Schiller, H., are classified into three namely 1. Ontological Assumptions 2. Epistemological Assumptions

3. Axiological Assumptions

1. Ontological Assumptions
This theory says that humans do not have the free will to chose how they feel, act, think, and live.  They react to what they see on television because there is nothing else to compare it to besides their own lives, usually portrayed as less than what it should be. 2. Epistemological Assumptions This theory explains that there is one truth and no matter what that truth never going to change.  As long as Third World countries continue to air Western Civilization's programs then the third world countries will always believe they should act, feel, think, and live as Western Civilizations act, feel, think, and live. 3. Axiological Assumptions This theory is value-neutral and objective.  It does not matter what beliefs the people of Third World may already hold, the television...

References: Anaeto, S. G., Onabajo, O. S. and Osifeso, J. B. (2008). Models and Theories of

Dare, A., (2010)
Grifin, E. (2000). A first look at communication theory. (4th edition). Boston, MA: McGraw- Hill
Littlejohn, S
Schiller, H. I. (1976). Communication and Cultural Domination. Armonk, NY: International Arts and Sciences Press. Accessed online on 29/10/2012.
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