Cultural imperialism

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  • 1. Cultural Imperialism 1898: "Ten Thousand Miles From Tip to Tip." This political cartoon shows the extent of U.S. domination (symbolized by a bald eagle stretching from Puerto Rico to the Philippines).
  • 2. Definitions • Imperialism is the policy of extending the control or authority over foreign countries as a means of acquiring and/or maintaining an empire. • Cultural imperialism is the practice of promoting the culture or language of one nation in another.
  • 3. The affects of cultural imperialism = cultural misunderstandings • When Coca Cola was first marketed in China in the 1920's, the name was translated phonetically ("kekou-ke-la) to mean "female horse stuffed with wax" or "bite the wax tadpole" depending on the dialect. It was quickly revised to sound more like "happiness in the mouth."
  • 4. • An American baby food jar with a smiling baby on the label caused African villagers to be horrified. They thought that "the jar must contain food not made for babies, but made of babies."
  • 5. Cultural misunderstandings • Ford’s low cost truck the Fiera meant "ugly old woman" in Spanish. It's Caliente in Mexico was found to be slang for "streetwalker." The Pinto was introduced in Brazil under the name of Corcel which was discovered to be Portuguese slang for "a small male appendage." • Nike made a television ad promoting its shoes, with people from different countries saying "Just do it" in their native language. Too late they found out that a Samburu African tribesman was really saying, "I don't want these”
  • 6. Larger Repercussions • When President George Bush went to Japan, he made explicit and direct demands on Japanese leaders. To the Japanese it is a sign of ignorance or desperation to lower oneself to make direct demands. • Some analysts believe it severely damaged the negotiations and confirmed to the Japanese that Americans are barbarians
  • 7. The Dark Side of Imperialism • The dominant culture often imposes its beliefs, using force to back them up. One race, ethnicity, or group is often marginalized based on its • Imperial Side Affects: identity. Violence, Enslavement, War, Genocide
  • 8. Destroying Culture • Cultural influence can be seen by the • However, the "receiving" culture dominant culture’s as either a threat to attitude is often that or an enrichment. as a conquered nation, the conquered people are inferior. Edward Said has argued that in accumulating territories and peoples, empires classify them, verify them; but above all, they subordinate them.
  • 9. Today will the Internet be another source of cultural imperialism? • 90% of traffic worldwide on the Internet is in English • Most information and entertainment products are produced by a few, increasingly powerful American companies • American movies, television, and music are popular throughout the world. Many argue that these serve to indoctrinate populations with American values while at the same time destroying indigenous cultures
  • 10. BUT…it can also be argued that... • The Internet • The Internet allows people to continue to participate in their "local" culture no matter where in the world they are. can be a tool for the preservation and celebration of culture.