The Effect Of Globalization And Americanization On Mass Media

Although the effects of globalization can be positive for mass media, they are not all beneficial. Skeptical globalists view globalization in a different way. They believe that globalization is not as widespread as we think. They claim that this phenomenon is a myth hiding the reality of the uneven world where some people have more power than others. Skeptics claim that globalization has more negative effects than its positive ones.

Globalization has made mass media a platform for cultural imperialism. They can push their agendas and ideas on the rest of the globe by exporting media from the dominant states. Media, especially mass and mainstream media, are the main channels through which cultural imperialism is manifested today. This is the dominance of one cultural group over another (less powerful societies) and some believe that this will cause a one way transmission of ideas that could result in the displacement indigenous cultures. (Santos, 2001, p. 43 to 48). The world’s traditional values, fashions and cultural identities will disappear if they are only exposed exclusively to western media. Media also serve as socialization agents, helping to shape and communicate social norms and values that help unify society. One example is the loss of local beauty standards due to the Western conception of beauty. This includes being thin, fair, light-eyed, tall, skinny, with long legs and blonde-haired. Media imperialism has hampered national growth by using Kenya’s curvaceous beauty standards. Media imperialism can be compared to cultural imperialism. The belief that the Western way, ideas and life is superior in developing countries leads to them wanting to adopt their ways. This belief is combined with the fact that media content is concentrated in the West means that locals consume most of it. This results in locals not supporting their own programmes and artists. The country’s media industry, including publishing and music, is hampered by the lack of promotion and minimal support. This could have negative economic consequences for the country, as media companies from developed countries earn more income from selling their products to developing countries. While the economy is suffering, all this while they receive nothing. Media Imperialism has the potential to alter reality and change society’s perceptions of another country. Media Imperialism encourages certain interpretations while discouraging others. This is accomplished by repeatedly and consistently relating certain characteristics/behaviours and stories with specific countries/cultures. Hollywood is, for example, the dominant film industry player. SALT and Rocky IV are great examples of Hollywood using national stereotypes to portray villains. All of these movies have one common feature: Russians are the villains. Russian villains have been the most prominent in Hollywood’s evil-doer spotlight. This constant portrayal in Hollywood of Russians slowly takes over society’s minds with the notion that Russians can be wicked and vindictive. Cultural homogenization destroys traditional societies’ identity. Cultural homogenization was achieved by combining media imperialism with cultural imperialism. Cultural homogenization is the suppression of cultural diversity through the popularization and dissemination of many cultural symbols. These symbols can include not only cultural elements but also behaviors, ideas, and values. O’Connor defines it like “the transformation or incorporation of local cultures by dominant outside cultures”. This has a negative effect on the nation’s culture and national identity. Americanization is the process of embracing American ways of doing business, regardless of whether they are in politics or economics. Consider Kenya’s news media stations. They are heavily modeled after Western news channels, such as BBC or CNN. The reporting style, format and design of the news stations are all similar. The differences are minimal and do not indicate that the content is derived from Kenyan culture. Globalization has created the possibility for media conglomerates. A small group of transnational media conglomerates has dominated the global media market. A small group of transnational media conglomerates own and control the majority of traditional and modern media forms in the global media industry (Bagdikian 2000). News Corporation, CBS, Viacom Time Warner and SONY are some of the global conglomerates that manage their media commodities. To ensure market dominance and revenue, global media giants position many their products. Companies from other countries find it more difficult to compete and survive. The great power of media conglomerates is what has been called the cause of Americanization. Because media ownership is not shared by diverse cultures and minorities, there is less diversity in news and entertainment centres. Globalization isn’t just about long-distance communications. Globalization also includes communication and interactions between cultures from different parts. Globalization has brought about a radical transformation in mass media. Global forces are now determining the media’s content, structure, nature, and boundaries. These changes do not always prove to be positive. In fact, globalization, while fulfilling people’s hopes and desires for the world becoming more connected and being better for us, does not mean they are necessarily good. This rose-tinted view has many flaws. Skeptical Globalists argue that media empire, cultural imperialisms, cultural homogenization and the media conglomerates all represent power imbalance. It can be said that globalization and its consequences are media colonialism. These concepts show how globalization’s negative effects are greater than the positive ones.


  • zakhart

    Zak Hart is an educational blogger and professor who has been writing about education for over 10 years. He has written for various publications, including The Huffington Post and Edutopia, and has been a guest lecturer at various universities. Zak is the founder and director of the Edutopia Academy, an online education program that provides teachers with resources and lessons to help them improve their teaching skills.

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