• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Assess the evidence for and against the 'media imperialism theory'

Extracts from this document...


OPTION TWO: ESSAY Assess the evidence for and against the 'media imperialism theory' There has often raged a defining debate about the vices of an internationally focused and orientated press, with the major focus on the mass medias supposed ability to manipulate and dominate. The focus of this paper is to question the theorem that surrounds the debate of media imperialism. Through the course of this paper an assessment of the evidence that is often brought to our attention, the so-called pros and cons of the debate, about the role that one culture imposes upon the other through the domination of their communications systems will be analysed for both its strengths and weaknesses in connection with the media imperialism theory. In order to understand the complexities of the arguments put forward a clear yet concise definition of the term media imperialism is imperative to our understanding of such a subject area. Boyd-Barrett (1977:117) has outlined a commonly used definition concerning media imperialism where it is stated that it is a continual process whereby the ownership, structure, distribution or content of the media in any one country is subjected to massive amounts of pressure and influence from another country with greater media interests without a comparable amount of influence being returned. According to O'Sullivan (1994: 74) Boyd-Barrett also regards a major western nations influence as being a one-directional flow of media. ...read more.


As Branston and Stafford (1999) point out, a lot of the profits of an American television series can be made from the revenue that can be obtained through international purchase. The series will, even if successful, probably only recoup the initial outlay that was spent on production costs after it has been distributed in the Northern American continent. So the series will then be offered to every broadcaster in the world at varying prices. This price variation is based upon the perceived audience size that it may reach, but in less affluent countries such as Africa the cost results in the series being virtually given away for nothing. This is not to be seen as a charitable action from the media company that sells the series but as an indication that they will take any amount of money, as effectively they are continually making a profit as they recouped the production costs even before international distribution took place. Due to the extremely cheap price that the series costs, station managers cannot afford not to purchase it. This though has a detrimental effect on local production, as producers cannot make programmes of the same quality and at the unbelievably cheap price, as that of the American series (Branston & Stafford: 1999: 256-257). Training is another key element. Local producers of media output in areas of Africa rely upon the expensive training being done in Northern America and Europe (most notably ...read more.


Colin Davis an executive producer at MCA TV, an American network channel, argues that the distribution of popular American programmes such as the 70's classic Kojak, a cop classic starring Telly Savalas, was never going to endanger foreign cultures. He believed that if a programme, with its most famous line being 'Who loves ya baby?', could endanger your culture then you've got problems with your culture to begin with. Conclusion Through these points I hopefully have given a small indication of what the arguments for and against the media imperialism debate are all about. Generally the criticism is levelled at the most dominant world force, America. It is true that during the whole of the 90's the Americans have sought to eliminate the international trade barriers that exist worldwide in order to capitalise on the possible financial rewards available. There may in the future be massive benefits from the weaker nations use of western orientated material, but that is far from clear. It is extremely debateable whether access to western media content is detrimental, as essentially everyone has a choice in the way that they act and the attitudes and beliefs that they chose to adopt. So in effect there will only be a negative effect on the culture of third world, developing or weaker nation if the people who are part of that culture let it slip away (Hutchinson: 1999: 200). ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our University Degree Anthropology section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related University Degree Anthropology essays

  1. Book Review: In Search of Respect: Selling Crack in El Barrio. 2nd Edition By ...

    "The ultimate exoneration of the rapist hinged on Jackie's lack of remorse and her failure to follow the traditional solution of establishing a nuclear household with her rapist abductor" (p270) One of the main features of all the failures of the people within this culture such as the inability to

  2. A characterization of communicative competence and the barriers that impede successful intercultural communication

    The other unionists ignored these requests, a response that the executive considered to be rude. As the elected spokesman for the union the "junior officials" were constrained from speaking on behalf of the lead official. They later highlighted these requests as an example of the "disrespect" displayed by the executive.

  1. Anthropology Interview

    me quite a bit of the elderly people in Number Our Days and their commitment to Jewish culture. These people were all about keeping the old ways and traditions of their religion active and were always committed to maintaining just that, which is also very apparent in the Muslim religion.

  2. Discuss some of the recurrent themes in western representations of the non-European 'other'.

    van der Veer point out from an Oriental perspective: "...not just a way of thinking. It is a way of conceptualizing the landscape of the colonial world that makes it subject to certain kinds of management" (1993: 6). The former category could be the result of a secondary misinterpretation of

  1. Arthur Marwick argues that the sixties were characterised by the counter-cultural movements across a ...

    He argued that if the scientist were left unchecked were where gambling with the extermination of our species. Scientists were heckled and some scientists who were involved in the more extreme areas of science had to employ body guards to protect themselves from the more extreme groups.

  2. Essay - Perception

    My Aunt was on an Aeroplane a couple of years ago and was seated next to an Islamic man. She was quite frightened because of the events of 9/11 and all of her perceptions about Islamists created by these events.

  1. Need for multi-national companies to identify and evaluate the risks associated with national culture ...

    culture with little consideration of those differences or for the values of employees of the acquired firm: "Culture clashes are resolved through brute power: Key people are replaced by the corporation's own agents. In other cases, key people do not wait for this to happen and leave on their own account.

  2. Modernity in India and Tendencies of Assimilative Appropriation

    Many of us are striving to produce a blend of all the cultures that seem today to be in clash with one another. No culture can live if it attempts to be exclusive What does interest me is the fact that remote ancestors blended with one another with the utmost

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work