Posted on behalf of Bill Young:
John Tomlinson’s idea of media and cultural imperialism can be seen through the recent adoption of television into Bhutan. Tomlinson argues that media imperialism and cultural imperialism are often taken as the same thing, when in reality it is the culture that dictates how the people will use and view the media that they receive. In an article from the BBC (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/entertainment/3812275.stm), it would appear that Bhutan’s recent adaptation of TV has changed their culture that was relatively unaffected by Western media until 1999. It states that violence and crime have risen since the introduction of TV, as well as a dilution of Bhutan’s culture due to the globalized culture represented on TV. Is it really TV causing these changes or is it the culture of Bhutan that led the people to act this way? Do we look at issues such as children imitating wrestling moves differently in America than in a developing country because of the differences in culture?One of Ferguson’s 7 myths about globalization is that there is a worldwide shared consumption of similar products and media, which is known as global cultural homogeneity. While this model does not exactly fit what occurs in the world, the argument of regional or national culture is also not without fault. The arguments about wrestling causing violence in Bhutan mirror what was occurring in the US about 10 years ago. I believe that there is a global culture, but that it does not necessarily appear globally in a simultaneous manner. We laugh when we see people from developing countries wearing fashion styles that were popular in the US years ago, but to them it is the current fad. The same thing occurs with music as well; with music that was popular in the 80’s and 90’s gaining popularity internationally years later. Can a global culture exist even when it is separated by a decade? Can it still be called a global culture if that is the case?