Cultural Imperialism
Central Issues:
  • What does it mean to wear Levis jeans, watch Disney channel, and eat at the MacDonald's?
  • Does it matter if we don't have Taiwanese films, Taiwanese songs, or Taiwanese culture?

  •                     *Taiwanese songsas an example: 1. from 現代中國民歌,to 我們的歌 and 校園歌曲
                                                                                2. Does it matter if 羅大佑 is Taiwanese or not?

     *Please Leave your messages

    John Tomlinson's views from Chapter Three of Media and Cultural Regulation
    How do we examine globalization critically?
    1. Cultural Imperialism argument --Importance: It concerns cultural identity and government policy.
                                        Danger: It is adopted as a ready-made position; protectionism

    2. globalization as a global project
    As a densening web of interconnectedness on all levels, globalization is ordinary.  (Kevin Robins in Tomlinson 118).

    Cultural Imperialism argument
    --the dominance , worldwide, of a standardized, 'homogenized' consumer culutre, emanating from western (and particularly North American) capitalism, represents a form of global cultural regulation.

    Basic thesis: certain dominant cultures threaten to overwhelm other more vulnerable ones.  e.g. America over Europe, "the West over the Rest," the core over the periphery, capitalism over more or less everyone.

    two major strands:
    1. "anti-Americanism"--against American cultural and  economic dominance, could be a form of culutral protectionism (e.g. the banning of importation or use of satellite dishes in Islamic states).

    2. against transnational capitalism supported by communication systems--
    e.g. Herbert Schiller on transnational media and communication industries
    "they are the 'ideologically supportive informational infrastructure' of global capitalism.  The agents for 'the promotion, protection and extension of the modern world system' which 'create ...attachment to the way things are in the system overall'" (Schiller qut in Tomlinson 125).

    (examples of cultural domination: Disney, Hollywood Film [e.g. the film Evita], MacDonalds, Coca-Cola)

    1. not predominantly American culture--The complex cross-cutting and overlay of communication paths and flows takes on a less benign aspect: now it appears as a 'web' which enmeshes and binds all culutres.
    the dominant culture as "the 'distanciated' influences" which order our everyday lives
    2. the viewers may receive dominant culture differently.
    patterns of TV viewing--a. 'primetime' scheduled for local shows; b. imports operate at a 'cultural discount'
    3. the 'decentring' of capitalism from the West
    --against core-periphery argument: This structuring of the global capitalist system assures the continued economic weakness, cultural subordination and conditions for the exploitation of the Third World by the First.  It does not adequately grasp the complexities of the operation of global capitalism.

    4. Globalization is a global project

    Globalization is unlikely to produce an entirely regulated, homogenized global culture.
    A. 'indegenization' of Western cultural goods, localization
    B. deterritorialization caused by the capital; by the immigrants from Asia, Africa or Latin America

    Conclusion: what is needed is a far more nuanced, flexible and dialectical critical perspective than that provided by the cultural imperialism approach.  Such a perspective should not attempt to 'totalize' in the manner of the cultural imperialism thesis, but to respond to the very different configurations of power and resistance--the various local-global dialectics--that we are increasingly likely to be confronted with.