John Tomlinson’s Opinion on Cultural Imperialism
However, a certain man named John Tomlinson thinks otherwise. Tomlinson believes that that cultural imperialism is a complex concept that involves how people understand “lived life” and how they look at their particular everyday practice. Besides, the process of disseminating culture is very complex and an economically powerful nation does not necessarily transpose a native culture with its culture. Tomlinson’s critical and fresh interpretation of cultural imperialism provides a tool to understand the capitalist modernity which he argues is “technologically and economically powerful but culturally ‘weak’” (Tomlinson (1991).
Tomlinson critiques cultural imperialism as a Western discourse of domination that is applied to cultures it purports to defend. According to Tomlinson, the cultural domination discourse enables some problematic notions of ideological manipulation that do not correspond to empirical audience research. Moreover, Tomlinson points out that cultural imperialism discourse needs to identify the various political interests involved in cultural foreign affairs discussions.
According to Tomlinson, globalization is multidimensional, and it can only be understood through the use of economy, politics, culture, technology and many more. Tomlinson expanded the term of globalization by defining it as complex connectivity: the rapidly increasing network of interconnections and interdependences that characterized modern social life. In his definition, he also includes aspect of daily life by giving examples such as the business class traveler not being able to experience what every day culture is like for the locals. He states “ This culture does not reveal itself in five-star international hotels, but in the streets, the houses, the churches, the workplaces, the bars and the shops that lie beyond the business or tourist centers”. Tomlinson (1999) explains that deterritorialization may have the potential to generate cosmopolitanism which is described as “cultural deposition”, which is not limited to locality, instead, thinks globally and integrates the concerns of others into mundane practices. Tomlinson’s view shows his enthusiasm for humanism. In cultural globalization, cosmopolitanism facilitates the mutual understanding, mutual support and increases the sense of responsibility for distant others.
Unlike Tomlinson, Dussel seems to think otherwise. He describes modernity as exclusively European i.e. something that started from the Middle Ages and spread throughout the world. He also believes that modernity as the culture of the center of the world-system where he states “the centrality of Europe in the world- system is not the sole fruit of an internal superiority accumulated during the European Middle Ages over against other cultures. Instead it is also the fundamental effect of the simple fact of discovery, conquest, colonization, and integration (subsumption) of Amerindia”. Dussel also goes on to describe three limits of modernity: ecological destruction of the planet, destruction of humanity and the impossibility of the subsumption of the populations, economies, nations and cultures that it has been attacking since its origin and cornered into poverty. Since, modernity and globalization are closely linked, it is safe to say that Dussel believed that the rise of modernity did have disastrous impacts on the society. The first limit explains how the increase in demand for capital is a root cause for the destruction of the planet. From its inception, modernity has always taken advantage of nature just for its own capital gains. Dussel perfectly explains this phenomenon by stating “Given that nature is for modernity only a medium of production, it runs out its fate of being consumed, destroyed, and in addition, accumulating geometrically upon the earth its debris, until it jeopardizes the reproduction of survival of life itself. The second limit describes how the accumulation of one’s wealth in this modern world could lead to the suffering of thousand others. The greater the rate of modernity, the greater will be the wage gap between the rich and the poor. The greater will be the difference in living standards and this will eventually lead to destruction of humanity. The third limit of modernity emphasizes on how modernity has cornered people into poverty. Dussel focuses on the fact that a more globalized world might lead to a situation where there will be millions suffering.
Vandana Shiva on Globalization
Similar to Dussel’s line of belief, Vandana Shiva: an economist, environmentalist, and feminist believes that the cause of women becoming more exposed to sexual violence directly relates to neoliberal globalization. She points out the rapid increase in rape in India, which she believes are related to different parts of globalization. She argues that due to various structural adjustment policies and due to destruction of the natural environment, a huge part of women’s economic activities has been compromised and women have lost their place in economic and political decision making. Shiva also talks about The New Economy and the impact it has on women. She states that the initial stage where violence begins against women is in the very definition of the word ‘economy.’ She mentions that Economy means household, and with free trade globalization, a major sector of women’s economy is eliminated and a production boundary is installed to calculate growth. She stated that the convergence of economic and political power further excludes women, but it also creates a class with immunity and impunity, which can do all levels of violence, change laws, and remove protections. There’s rape at every level—rape of the earth, rape of our resources, rape of the economy, and rape of women, which is what this drastic, dramatic tragedy has woken up India to.
Leanne Simpson’s Opinion
Leanne Simpson is also very strict about her belief in the idea of indigenous knowledge. She states in her article “ Communities become more reliant on Western economic systems, become less self-sufficient, and are propelled further down the path toward total cultural assimilation. The more globalized our society becomes, the more we lose indigenous knowledge within the community. She uses the industrial deforestation of forest regions of Canada and the United States to emphasize this point. She goes on to say how multinational corporations are exploiting the land reserves located in these remote regions. What they don’t realize is the collateral damage faced by the locals, the environment and the animals living in that region. The community loses food, medicines, and their livelihood. But the corporations don’t care and the people in that region don’t have the right knowledge to tackle these situations. So overall, cultural globalization is to some extent taking advantage of the less fortunate, thereby making the rich wealthier and the poor even more broke.
Conlcusion: My Opinion
In my opinion, although in theory there isn’t any correlation between cultural imperialism and globalization, I do lean towards the beliefs of Dussel, Shiva, and Simpson more than Tomlinson. Globalization has led to so much innovation in this world in terms of technology, economy, agricultural development, and worldwide export. However, it has created a huge power struggle between countries where the countries equipped with less resources are the ones being exploited by more powerful countries. How is that any different from colonialism? As long as we keep on labelling other countries as “third world” and not do more than the bare minimum to help these countries, there will always be a huge gap. So yes I do somewhat agree with the notion that cultural globalization is an extension of cultural imperialism.