ERIC Number: ED349591
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1992-May
Reference Count: N/A
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.) (HB)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Information Analyses; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Cultural Hegemony; Jamaica; Third World
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the International Communication Association (42nd, Miami, FL, May 20-25, 1992).