Sociology Index


Cultural colonialism is the desire of wealthy nations to control other nations' values and perceptions through cultural means, such as media, language, education and religion, for their own economic reasons. Cultural colonialism leads to the foreigners' ways being regarded as the better way and being held in a higher esteem than previous indigenous ways. People, once subject to colonial or imperial rule, latch onto physical and cultural differences between the foreigners and themselves, leading some to associate power and success with the foreigners' ways. One of the most dangerous methods of colonialism used in Ireland is Cultural Colonialism, or Cultural Imperialism. Cultural Colonialism is a form of colonialism in the late 18th century and the early 19th century. Britain became dominant in the implementation of Cultural Colonialism by spreading the English language and the British culture in its colonies.

There are different forms of Cultural Colonialism and the most popular one is the formation of intelligent agents, who would master the use of foreign languages by pursuing in-depth studies concerning colonized cultures. France was the pioneer in Cultural Colonialism during Napoleon Bonaparte’s campaign on Egypt, “when Napoleon invaded Egypt in 1798, he took 165 scholars with him. Among other things, they founded an entirely new discipline, Egyptology, and made important contributions to the study of religion, linguistics, and botany.” (Harari, 2011).

Cultural Imperialism is the practice of artificially injecting the culture or language of one culture into another. It is usually the case of a large, economically or militarily powerful nation injecting their culture or language to a smaller, less important one. Instead of Colonialism as the main instrument of imperialism we have today neocolonialism. Neocolonialism, like colonialism, is an attempt to export the social conflicts of the capitalist countries."

In his book Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind, Yuval Noah Harari (2011) stated that "the existence of different human races, the superiority of the white race, and the need to protect and cultivate their superior race were widely held beliefs among most Western elites.”

Social Darwinism allowed ‘the civilized’ to intervene in the affairs of ‘the uncivilized’ to improve his situation. Intellectuals such as Darwin support the dominant power through their writings which serve as propaganda tools in the favor of Imperialism. According to Antonio Gramsci, these arguments could be portrayed as “Cultural Hegemony."

In contradiction to Darwin, the organic intellectual, according to the Gramscian approach, is the one who helps the oppressed within or outside his own society without thinking of himself as somebody who belongs to a different class, independent of any sort of egocentrism and ready to sacrifice his own life for the betterment of societies by pursuing freedom and dignity.

In cultural colonialism the colonised may over time equate the colonisers' race or ethnicity itself as being responsible for their superiority. cultural colonialism seeks to destroy national identities or empty them of substantive socio-economic content.

Rudolf Otto came to embrace a form of German cultural colonialism which assigned the study of religions a key role though German colonial ambitions became unrealistic. Cultural colonialism rejections, such as the Negritude movement, or simply the embracing of seemingly authentic local culture are then seen in a post colonial world as a necessary part of the struggle against domination or cultural colonialism.

Cultural colonialism, importation or continuation of cultural mores or elements from former colonial powers may be regarded as a form of Neocolonialism. A metaphor of colonialism is employed in cultural colonialism: the cultural products of the first world "invade" the third-world and "conquer" local culture. - Alexander, Victoria D. (2003). "The Cultural Diamond - The Production of Culture." Sociology of the arts: exploring fine and popular forms. Wiley-Blackwell.