Cultural imperialism is the practice of systematically spreading the influence of
one culture over others by means of physical and economic domination.
Cultural imperialism usually involves an assumption of cultural superiority
(ethnocentrism). 'Cultural imperialism' can refer to either the forced acculturation of a
subject population, or to the voluntary embracing of a foreign culture by individuals who
do so of their own free will. The term cultural imperialism is understood differently in
particular discourses as in "media imperialism"
Cultural imperialism is the practice of artificially injecting the culture or
language of one culture into another. It is usually the case that the former belongs to a
large, economically or militarily powerful nation and the latter belongs to a smaller,
less important one. Cultural imperialism can take the form of an active, formal policy or
a general attitude. The term 'cultural imperialism' is usually used in a pejorative sense,
usually in conjunction with a call to reject foreign influence.
Cultural imperialism and resistance in media theory and literary theory - Colleen
Media, Culture & Society, Vol. 19, No. 1, 47-66 (1997)
This article places particular emphasis on the criticism of cultural imperialism that
began in the mid-1980s and that is now subsumed under the rubric of `cultural studies' and
its key concepts: the active audience, audience `resistance' to media messages, and
polysemy. It contrasts the political economy school with cultural studies. The positions
of Herbert Schiller and Armand Mattelart on the `resistance debate' are outlined, with the
author concluding that while Schiller still asserts the validity of cultural imperialism
thinking, Mattelart has moved in a slightly different direction. Nonetheless, while the
latter has welcomed the departure from monolithic research models, he by no means endorses
cultural studies positions, particularly their political implications. The article also
contrasts the way `resistance' has been used by postmodernists in the field of
communications with its meaning as articulated by two prominent writers in the field of
comparative literature: Edward Said and Ngugi Wa Thiong'o. Both writers still validate the
notion of cultural imperialism and use the term `resistance' to refer to the struggles
against colonialism and imperialism in the countries of the South.
Twenty Years of Cultural Imperialism Research: Some Conceptual and Methodological
Problems. - Burrowes, Carl Patrick
While the notion of "cultural imperialism" has received significant attention in
communication studies since the early 1970s, researchers have ignored analyses of message
systems and audience cultivation in favor of institutional analysis. Likewise, researchers
have concentrated on the technologies, media products and processes of Western exporting
countries with little concomitant concern for importing countries. These biases stem from
a mechanistic model of social processes along with a non-symbolic, materialist conception
of culture, viewed as synonymous with technologies, ideologies, or commodities. Previous
critics have also failed to question the radicalism of scholars who would preserve the
Third World cultures from Western encroachment. Furthermore, the cultural imperialism
paradigm presents some serious problems in terms of data measurement and research design
models. In brief, the cultural imperialism model, while yielding extensive and often
useful analyses, so far has explicated little on the specifically cultural dimensions of
relations between nations or between media and their audiences. An examination of popular
music in one Third World country, Jamaica, shows how human creativity, exercised even by
politically powerless people, can wreak havoc with facile assumptions held by proponents
and opponents of imperialism. The current debate revolves largely around moral questions,
and unless significant methodological shifts occur, this debate is unlikely to be settled
on an empirical basis. (Sixty references are attached.)
Beyond Cultural Imperialism: Cultural Theory, Christian Missions, and Global
Dunch, Ryan, History and Theory, Volume 41, Number 3, October 2002 , pp. 301-325(25)
Abstract: Cultural imperialism has been an influential concept in the
representation of the modern Christian missionary movement. This essay calls its
usefulness into question and draws on recent work on the cultural dynamics of
globalization to propose alternative ways of looking at the role of missions in modern
history. The first section of the essay surveys the ways in which the term cultural
imperialism has been employed in different disciplines, and some of the criticisms
made of the term within those disciplines. The second section discusses the application of
the cultural imperialism framework to the missionary enterprise, and the related term
colonization of consciousness used by Jean and John Comaroff in their
influential work on British missionaries and the Tswana of southern Africa. The third
section looks at the historiography of missions in modern China, showing how deeply the
teleological narratives of nationalism and development have marked that historiography.
The concluding section argues that the missionary movement must be seen as one element in
a globalizing modernity that has altered Western societies as well as non-Western ones in
the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, and that a comparative global approach to the
missionary movement can help to illuminate the process of modern cultural globalization.
Cultural Imperialism on the Internet - by Seongcheol Kim
Abstract: The purpose of this article is to review the cultural imperialism argument in
terms of the developments of the Internet through some case studies. In trying to explain
problems of global unequal flow of media including the Internet, the cultural imperialism
argument seems to be uniquely helpful. However, because of the structural differences
between the Internet and traditional forms of mass media, it may not be appropriate to
apply the argument to the Internet. Furthermore, it can be said that the cultural
imperialism argument has some limitations in the research of not only the Internet but the
other new interactive electronic media.
The Orientalist Perspective: Cultural Imperialism in Gaming? - By Elmer Tucker
Abstract: Japanese video game titles represent a significant portion of the U.S. video
game market. With such widespread representation of Japanese made games in the video game
market, this presentation asks What kinds of ideas are formulated by Western
consumers of Japanese games? More specifically, what does the consumption and
digestion of this media reveal and conceal about Japan to Western consumers? These
questions directly address Edward Said's conceptualization of Orientalism both in the
Western consumption of Japanese games and in Japanese games' depictions of Japanese-ness
in the games.
Even when not actively perpetuated, Orientalism persists as the default framework through
which gaming depicts Eastern cultures. This presentation will cover three dominant forms
of Orientalism found in gaming today. The first form is the exoticization of the East by
the West, as from a fixed Orientalist perspective that can be found in Prince of Persia:
Sands of Time, which tells a tale of the exoticized Middle Eastern Other through the
Westernized Prince. The second form of Orientalism frequently found in games is the East's
internalization of the Orientalist's fetish and its own production of Orientalism.
Essentially, Orientalism acts as a two-way relationship in which the West consumes a
fetishized version of the East and in which the East internalizes that fetishization and
markets it to the West. Because the Oriental subject is founded on the exploitation of
Otherness, the Oriental subject in turn allows an auto-exoticizing Japan to use cultural
tropes and stereotyped icons to market themselves to a Western audience and to enforce a
culturally imperialistic policy for Asia. Japan's continuance of the commodification of
Japanese icons, specifically seen with the Samurai and Ninja figures, reveals the use of
Orientalist perspective in selling games such as Onimusha and Tenchu that rely on
distinctly Japanese archetypes. The third form of Orientalism found in gaming relies on
both prior forms. This form is the imperialist and Orientalist stance that Japan takes in
regard to other Asian nations. This form can be seen in the Japanese view of Chinese
pseudo-history as represented in the Dynasty Warriors series. The series serves to
illustrate the dominant position Japan establishes for itself within the Orientalist
After establishing a working framework for the types of Orientalism frequently found in
gaming, this presentation will illustrate the role of Orientalist perspectives in the
playing, marketing, and creation of current games on the international market. Working
from an examination of the recursive Orientalism of fetishized Japanese stereotypes in
games made in Japan, I also explore Orientalism as a force for subjugation and the
implicit meaning this gives in regard to Imperialism, which highlights the privileged
position Japan occupies vis-à-vis other Asian nations. As gaming continues to develop,
the cultures which create, market, and consume games become increasingly important and
this presentation will serve as one entry point into that discussion.
Cultural imperialism: A critical theory of interorganizational change - Joseph W.
Journal: Journal of Organizational Change Management
Abstract: Current theories of organization tend to discuss the management of change across
networks in a grammar of instrumental reason, thereby offering legitimacy to the
imperialism that emerges when groups come together in a shared-change experience. However,
by adopting principles of critical theory, the social research project initiated by a
group of scholars known as the Frankfurt School, we may challenge this
degradation of knowledge and its companion, human domination. A critical theory of
interorganizational change reveals three forms of organizational imperialism: cultural
domination, cultural imposition, and cultural fragmentation. From this perspective, we may
understand the deleterious human, social and cultural consequences of organizational
expansionism, and thereby initiate a dialogue for cultural emancipation, a more
meaningful, culturally sensitive approach to change.
U.S. Cultural Imperialism: Today Only a Chimera - Elteren, Mel van.
SAIS Review - Volume 23, Number 2, Summer-Fall 2003, The Johns Hopkins University Press
U.S. Cultural Imperialism: Today Only a Chimera - SAIS Review 23:2 SAIS Review 23.2 (2003)
169-188 U.S. Cultural Imperialism Today: Only a Chimera? Mel van Elteren Abstract: After
revisiting the notion of "cultural imperialism" and reclaiming its valuable
components, the article focuses on the most significant aspects of U.S. cultural
imperialism in the current era of globalization. It goes beyond media imperialism to
examine other domains of U.S. cultural influence at the heart of capitalist globalization,
including business culture, management and labor practices, and cultural and political
"development policies." Recognizing two levels of meaning associated with the
ideas and practices distributed from the United States to the rest to the world, the
author posits the sustained dominance of the first level, that is, the culture of
consumerism. U.S. cultural imperialism as understood here -- ultimately seen as a
predominantly negative phenomenon from the perspective of self-determination by local
people -- is neither essential for, nor inherent to, globalization, but a contingent form
of the global diffusion of consumerist beliefs and practices. The concept of
"cultural imperialism" has generally been discredited. Today, it is primarily
European intellectuals and politicians warning against the purported threat of the
"Americanization" of some part of European culture who employ the term. The
French have been leading critics in this...
The Death of Cultural Imperialism and Power Too?
A Critical Analysis of American Prestige Press Representations of the Hegemony of English
Mass Communications and Journalism Studies Department, University of Denver, 2490 S.
Gaylord St., Denver, CO 80208, USA, firstname.lastname@example.org
A condensed chapter from a recently completed dissertation, this article critically
examines selected texts taken from a pool of 275 accounts of the global rise of English
published from 1991 to 2003 in five American-owned prestige press publications the
Los Angeles Times, the International Herald Tribune, The New York Times, The Wall Street
Journal and The Washington Post. In particular, it interrogates representations that
declare the death of cultural imperialism. The article deconstructs and problematizes
these representations along a number of theoretical and analytical lines. The author
notes, and challenges, a powerful propensity toward conceiving globalization through the
lens of cultural consumption, contending that to focus on cultural consumption and
creative appropriation, and to loosely use the catchphrase `cultural flow', is to lose
sight of the specific, and considerable, cultural production and distribution inequities
that characterize the contemporary global social order. The author also challenges a
valorization of individual agency in the texts, as well as a bottom-up view of
globalization that implies the disintegration of global power differentials.
In Praise of Cultural Imperialism? Foreign Policy, Number 107, Sum 1997 - David Rothkopf
DAVID ROTHKOPF is managing director of Kissinger Associates and an adjunct professor of
international affairs at Columbia University. He served as a senior official in the U.S.
Department of Commerce during the first term of the Clinton administration.
The gates of the world are groaning shut From marble balconies and over the airwaves
demagogues decry new risks to ancient cultures and traditional values. Satellites, the
Internet, and jumbo jets carry the contagion. To many people, "foreign" has
become a synonym for "danger."
Of course, now is not the first time in history that chants and anthems of nationalism
have been heard. But the tide of nationalism sweeping the world today is unique. For it
comes in reaction to a countervailing global alternative that-for the first time in
history-is clearly something more than the crackpot dream of visionaries. It is also the
first time in history that virtually every individual at every level of society can sense
the impact of international changes. They can see and hear it in their media, taste it in
their food, and sense it in the products that they buy. Even more visceral and threatening
to those who fear these changes is the growth of a global labor pool that during the next
decade will absorb nearly 2 billion workers from emerging markets, a pool that currently
includes close to 1 billion unemployed and underemployed workers in those markets alone.
These people will be working for a fraction of what their counterparts in developed
nations earn and will be only marginally less productive. You are either someone who is
threatened by this change or someone who will profit from it, but it is almost impossible
to conceive of a significant group that will remain untouched by it.
Globalization has economic roots and political consequences, but it also has brought into
focus the power of culture in this global environment-the power to bind and to divide in a
time when the tensions between integration and separation tug at every issue that is
relevant to international relations.
The impact of globalization on culture and the impact of culture on globalization merit
discussion. The homogenizing influences of globalization that are most often condemned by
the new nationalists and by cultural romanticists are actually positive; globalization
promotes integration and the removal not only of cultural barriers but of many of the
negative dimensions of culture. Globalization is a vital step toward both a more stable
world and better lives for the people in it.
Furthermore, these issues have serious implications for American foreign policy. For the
United States, a central objective of an Information Age foreign policy must be to win the
battle of the world's information flows, dominating the airwaves as Great Britain once
ruled the seas.