Media and cultural imperialism reconsidered


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The theory of media and cultural imperialism is today largely discredited. This article reviews the classical theory, particularly as developed by Schiller and identifies a number of its key elements. The main objections to this view are then briefly rehearsed, and their conclusive force is accepted. The article then considers how changes in the last decade have made the successor theories, which are variants of globalization, increasingly unsatisfactory. It is noted that in other disciplines these real-world developments have led to a revival of theoretical and empirical discussions of imperialism. In the light of these developments, the article reconsiders the requirements of theories of imperialism and proposes an account which differs in significant respects from the version advanced by Schiller. It is argued that this new version (a) does not suffer from the crippling defects of the classical account (b) explains much better the historical realities of imperialism and (c) provides a superior theoretical account of contemporary and likely future developments in international communication.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)281-299
Number of pages19
JournalChinese Journal of Communication
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2012

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Communication

User-Defined Keywords

  • culture
  • imperialism
  • media
  • Schiller
  • state


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