Along with the development of technology, especially the internet and media, globalization has risen rapidly throughout the world. The impacts of globalization have been the focus of a number of recent academic studies on global cultural influence. Some scholars argue that the foreign cultural influences, especially imported media, may erode local culture. Others claim that pure culture has not existed or cultural interaction has always happened, so the foreign culture does not damage traditional culture. Therefore, this review will examine the literature on foreign cultural influences, in particular media effects.
An increasing number of studies (the UN, 2003; Arnett, 2002; Morris, 2002) have examined the integration of global and local cultures based on conflicting views of cultural imperialism theory. This term refers to the domination of one culture over other cultures, and it is often associated with the dominance of American values and ideologies in recent years. The UN perspective agrees with the proponents of this theory, which asserts that globalization process has led to homogenization of culture and eroded local culture. In contrast, Arnett and Morris point out that hybridization between local and foreign cultures is a result of global cultural flows, which produces more diversity of culture. Furthermore, Morris uses the ‘deep structure’ of culture to explain how cultures preserve and retain traditional values, so the culture cannot be homogenized by global flows. Although these perspectives belong to different fields of global culture or media and could conflict in some ways, their contribution to research is significant.
Based on the thesis that the foreign culture erodes local culture, the UN claims cultural homogenization seems to be a result of globalization or one- way flow of global culture from developed to developing countries.