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Theorizing Cultural Development vis-à-vis Cultural Imperialism Theory: Lessons from Nigeria
Unformatted Document Text:  Theorizing Cultural Development vis-à-vis Cultural Imperialism Theory: Lessons from Nigeria exportation of media software to the developing nations. Cultural imperialism is also the subjugation of a local culture and the imposition of an alien culture on the local culture (Ekeanyanwu, 2008b). Cultural imperialism became an issue in international media circles and one of the core debates in the controversy over the New World Information and Communication Order after the MacBride Commission published its findings which states that “the media of communication are cultural instruments which serve to promote or influence attitudes, motivation, foster the spread of behaviour patterns and bring about social integration” (MacBride et al, 1980). THE MAIN ARGUMENTS OF CULTURAL IMPERIALISM THEORY After a critical analysis of the arguments put forward by most of the theorists and other scholars who have written on the subject of cultural imperialism, the major proposition could be summarized in the work of Schiller (1976). From his thinking, cultural imperialism proposes that a society is brought into the modern world system when its dominating stratum is attracted, pressured, forced, and sometimes bribed into shaping its social institutions to correspond to, or even promote, the values and structures of the dominating centre of the system (Schiller, 1976 cited in White, 2001). The summary of this view is that the essence of cultural imperialism is the domination by one nation by another and the environment for this is created by transnational media organizations. Another assumption of cultural imperialism, according to White (2001:4) citing Tomlison (1991) is that: Media play a central role in creating culture. This axiom is linked to the interchangeable use of various terms to refer to cultural imperialism. Writers who talk about "cultural imperialism" as "media imperialism," treating the two terms as synonyms, bring into question the centrality of the media in claims of cultural imperialism. This practice implies that the media have such an overwhelming role in the process referred to as "cultural imperialism" that the word "cultural" can be interchanged with "media" from time to time. Of course, one must be careful in attributing this massive central significance to the media. To understand claims about media imperialism, one would need to examine the relationship of the media to other aspects of culture without assuming its centrality from the outset (Tomlinson, 1991). 13 | P a g e

Authors: Ekeanyanwu, Nnamdi.
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Theorizing Cultural Development vis-à-vis Cultural Imperialism Theory: Lessons from Nigeria
exportation of media software to the developing nations. Cultural imperialism is also the subjugation 
of a local culture and the imposition of an alien culture on the local culture (Ekeanyanwu, 2008b).
Cultural  imperialism  became  an issue in international  media  circles  and one of the core 
debates in the controversy over the New World Information and Communication Order after the 
MacBride Commission published its findings which states that “the media of communication are 
cultural instruments which serve to promote or influence attitudes, motivation, foster the spread of 
behaviour patterns and bring about social integration” (MacBride et al, 1980).
THE MAIN ARGUMENTS OF CULTURAL IMPERIALISM THEORY 
After a critical analysis of the arguments put forward by most of the theorists and other scholars who 
have written on the subject of cultural imperialism, the major proposition could be summarized in the 
work of Schiller (1976). From his thinking, cultural imperialism proposes that a society is brought 
into   the   modern   world   system   when   its   dominating   stratum   is   attracted,   pressured,   forced,   and 
sometimes bribed into shaping its social institutions to correspond to, or even promote, the values 
and structures of the dominating centre of the system (Schiller, 1976 cited in White, 2001). The 
summary of this view is that the essence of cultural imperialism is the domination by one nation by 
another and the environment for this is created by transnational media organizations.
Another assumption of cultural imperialism, according to White (2001:4) citing Tomlison 
(1991) is that: 
Media play a central role in creating culture. This axiom is linked to 
the   interchangeable   use   of   various   terms   to   refer   to   cultural 
imperialism. Writers who talk about "cultural imperialism" as "media 
imperialism," treating the two terms as synonyms, bring into question 
the   centrality   of   the   media   in   claims   of   cultural   imperialism.   This 
practice implies that the media have such an overwhelming role in the 
process referred to as "cultural imperialism" that the word "cultural" 
can be interchanged with "media" from time to time. Of course, one 
must be careful in attributing this massive central significance to the 
media. To understand claims about media imperialism, one would need 
to examine the relationship of the media to other aspects of culture 
without assuming its centrality from the outset (Tomlinson, 1991). 
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P a g e


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