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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 8. The cultural imperialism theory does not also acknowledge an audience's ability to process information and interpret messages differently based on their individual background, and as suggested by Individual Differences theory (Liebes & Katz, 1990 cited in White, 2001). The theory also goes against the uses and gratification model, which rightly presumes an active media audience that are able to process and interpret media messages or stimuli from their individual socio-cultural experiences and backgrounds. 9. The theory builds on mass society and magic bullet submissions which have long been discredited in media practice and scholarship. So, are we moving backward and forward or forward and backward in the development and diffusion of mass communication theories? The answer should be obvious. 10. The criteria for evaluating theories - scope, precision, testability and utility - have been used in the comparison of cultural imperialism and other macroscopic theories. These criteria have been suggested for evaluating mainly social scientific theories. However, even though cultural imperialism is considered mainly a critical theory, these criteria could still be used as cultural imperialism has been applied in social scientific research. Using these criteria, White (2001) notes the following: Although the theory, arguably, has broad scope as it attempts to cover a lot of the phenomenon related to relationships between nations, therein lies part of the theory's shortcoming. According to Fejes (1981), the theory is almost a "pseudo-concept, something which can be used to explain everything in general about media in developing countries and hence nothing in particular" (p. 282). This is further complicated by the fact that the theory lacks precisely defined constructs and propositions which makes it highly challenging to test the theory. With these inadequacies related to precision and testability, one can infer that the theory does not have much utility either. At best, the theory is descriptive and does not have much explanatory or predictive power. ADVOCATING FOR A CULTURAL DEVELOPMENT THEORY: LESSONS FROM NIGERIA 16 | P a g e

Authors: Ekeanyanwu, Nnamdi.
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Theorizing Cultural Development vis-à-vis Cultural Imperialism Theory: Lessons from Nigeria
8. The cultural imperialism theory does not also acknowledge an audience's ability to process 
information and interpret messages differently based on their individual background, and as 
suggested by Individual Differences theory (Liebes & Katz, 1990 cited in White, 2001). The 
theory also goes against the uses and gratification model, which rightly presumes an active 
media audience that are able to process and interpret media messages or stimuli from their 
individual socio-cultural experiences and backgrounds.
9. The   theory  builds   on  mass  society   and  magic   bullet  submissions  which  have   long  been 
discredited in media practice and scholarship. So, are we moving backward and forward or 
forward and backward in the development and diffusion of mass communication theories? 
The answer should be obvious.
10. The criteria for evaluating theories - scope, precision, testability and utility - have been used 
in the comparison of cultural imperialism and other macroscopic theories. These criteria have 
been   suggested   for   evaluating   mainly   social   scientific   theories.   However,   even   though 
cultural imperialism is considered mainly a critical theory, these criteria could still be used as 
cultural imperialism has been applied in social scientific research. Using these criteria, White 
(2001) notes the following: 
Although the theory, arguably, has broad scope as it attempts to cover 
a   lot   of   the   phenomenon   related   to   relationships   between   nations, 
therein   lies   part   of   the   theory's   shortcoming.   According   to   Fejes 
(1981), the theory is almost a "pseudo-concept, something which can 
be used to explain everything in general about media in developing 
countries  and  hence  nothing   in  particular"   (p.  282).  This  is  further 
complicated   by   the   fact   that   the   theory   lacks   precisely   defined 
constructs and propositions which makes it highly challenging to test 
the theory. With these inadequacies related to precision and testability, 
one can infer that the theory does not have much utility either. At best, 
the   theory   is   descriptive   and   does   not   have   much   explanatory   or 
predictive power. 
16 | 
P a g e

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