In response to globalization, many critics have become concerned with its effects on other cultures. Globalization is not merely the sharing of goods and people, but also the spread of ideology and values. So, what happens when the ideologies of different nations conflict? For those who support the cultural imperialism theory, the answer is simple? The more powerful countries’ ideas prevail, forcing the people of the less powerful country to quickly abandon their former ideas and adapt to the new ones. The result is that authentic cultures are ruined which will lead to a global homogeneous culture. However, those who oppose this theory contend that cultures are not ruined but expanded and enhanced to create more complex and diverse societies. In my paper I examined both arguments as well as the way in which American popular culture is spread. In particular, I will focus on the impact of American influence in Japan and Korea, both of which have been receptive to American culture, and France. Most often, scholars cite media and business as the main form of cultural imperialism, but what is the true effect of watching American television and movies, listening to music, or eating a Big Mac? I don’t believe that there is a significant impact because while people from other cultures may emulate common American images and ideas, they also find different ways to adapt these new ideas into their traditional culture. These different methods of adaptation will lead to an even more complex global culture instead of a homogeneous one, while concepts of ethnocentrism will maintain diversity.
First, what is culture? Furthermore, is it destructible? Marvin Harris and Orna Johnson, the authors of Cultural Anthropology, refer to culture as learned and socially acquired patterns of thought and behavior (Harris & Johnson, 2007). It is these shared traditions that help members of a culture group identify with each other and distinguish themselves from others. Culture is neither destructible nor set in stone. Instead, it is continuous, always evolving and changing with the times. This alone questions the myth of an authentic culture. Throughout time, individuals from different cultures have been interacting and mixing with one another. Each civilization in the world has been influenced at one point or another. American culture itself has elements from a variety of cultures including Middle Eastern, European, African, and Latin American cultures just to name a few.
Those who support the theory of cultural imperialism argue that instead of individuals celebrating and preserving their own cultures, people in other societies are being forced to abandon their culture to adapt to the rapidly changing world. But, what is the driving force between this? The popular answer is capitalism. Capitalism is an important aspect in this theory because it is one of the underlying motives for globalization. Globalization is commonly referred...