‘Cultural imperialism’ and ‘cultural diplomacy’ /на англ. языке/

‘Cultural imperialism’ and ‘cultural diplomacy’ /на англ. языке/


Perhaps, “cultural imperialism” and “cultural diplomacy” are
sufficiently young, but it concerns only word combinations. Mankind always 
tries to chose definitions to different phenomena, in particular in sphere of
politics, in such way  the words “ideology”, “myth”, “propaganda” have

Cultural imperialism and cultural diplomacy can be considered
just as  more or less aggressive method of propaganda activity.

The process of clearance of relationship between journalism
and propaganda is as two instruments of cultural diplomacy and cultural

What is the aim of cultural diplomacy and cultural
imperialism: forming of political regimes, decision of some economical problems
or something else? A large use of considering definitions makes doubts that the
aim of spreading ideas can be contain in one word. Most probably it is a
complex of aims. But what politics is more successful? “Whip” politics or
“cake” politics?

New epoch, epoch of globalization, epoch of powerful mass
media has opened new opportunities for propaganda. A man is grasped from TV
every day; the material chosen by journalists has turned out in a stream of
huge amount of information. “It is [TV] the crucial source of information about
the outside world”. (Negrine op. Cit., ibid., p. 100). Naturally that if even
journalists have no enough time for interpretation of the information, what
hopes may be for average spectator to interpret this information correctly. “TV
is a “heavily selected interpretation of events” (R. Hoggart “Bad news”.
London, 1976, p.x.). In the stream of the information a spectator managed by
own prejudices and moral brought from without is building from the information
knots a picture of   his own world. People received  the opportunity to know so
many things  without  learning anything. At  the sense level a person 
understands that he is manipulated (probably because of that spectator’s
appreciation  of journalists are so low). From the other side the information
containing burning topics of the day, sharply and easily for understanding
given, wakes up  in a person so powerful impulse  which it’s very difficult not
to be  obeyed. As  never before a man has become such unprotected  against
foreign influence, the question is what ideology will be more correct key for
this or that country.     From the other side despite that a man has learned to
get over large distances for a short time, people have not became  closer one
another. It may be called “the theory of unknown people”. Unknown people  are
making clothes for us, selling  foods,  unknown people are defending us as a
Police, unknown people are teaching our children, building our houses. When we
are traveling  by bus or by plane our lives are in the hands of unknown people.
Why not to let  these unknown people to take possessions of our minds (through
TV and sound speakers)?

May be supposed that this space  being free from critical
interpretation in human consciousness offers the opportunity for enforcing of 
culture (in context of cultural imperialism).  But aforementioned statement has
reverse side as well. Since the borders between that as supposed is personal
and private and that is not so, have no the same sense as were before, people
have worked out the immunity against information aggressiveness. 

The opportunity of comparison may have its influence; access
to large amount of information let people to compare thrusting ideas with the
reality. Thus the slogan “Dreamland is good because it is wonderful” is not
working any more.

 Before the  World War II  in world politics only 10
countries played  essential part. After the War  practically all countries
began to play their parts  in the world politics. Economical and political
reasons have come to the situation when the ideology has become the  well
developed science.  Cultural imperialism as well as cultural diplomacy have
appeared  in the result of development of ideology and propaganda.
Differentiation of ideology, foundation of politics-ideological complexes,
access  of scientists to practical politics (J. Kennedy, T. Kissinger) and
taking part of scientists in creation of ideological systems as well as
organization of expert centers in  this field — all these resulted in
foundation of whole system of measures on foreign policy, particularly in
cultural diplomacy.

A needful influence using rude methods of cultural
imperialism can be hardly have an affect,  countries at which the cultural
imperialism can be aimed have too probable  chance of maneuver. Cultural
diplomacy and cultural imperialism as a part of ideological war became a
strategic weapon using a subtle instruments of influence. Perhaps Chechen War
became one of the failures of cultural imperialism. Here should be mentioned
that religious factor has played an important part. It is one of the reason
that confirms impossibility  of rude influence can be applicable.

It may be supposed that a peace after the war in Chechen,
long-drawn-out Israel — Palestine conflict and Desert fox, is in condition of
sufficient fragile balance, that can be ground for conclusion that cultural
imperialism isn’t applicable at all, since it would directed at a country
playing an insignificant part in world politics, and would be identified in
time and met by opposite measures,  consequences might  be tragic.

On the contrary cultural diplomacy is the war without
victims. To avoid    any impact of cultural diplomacy a country can only in
case  of  the  isolation from foreign world is available (Iraq, North Korea).
Since that it is one of the sign of the totalitarian state, but it’s not
excluded that the regime will aim its powerful ideological machine at its
people. It’s all the same for the cultural imperialism but only within the
limits of one state. If one of the purposes of cultural imperialism in foreign
policy would be the spreading of a political regime, so in case of totalitarian
country the aim of propaganda, creation of myths, ideology became in general
the support of a regime. Too much energy must be spent for the support of
information units.

Supposedly that cultural imperialism as well as cultural
diplomacy is aimed by one country or a group of countries at other country.
Sometimes instruments of political influence are aimed at population of the own
state, for example at representatives of a large group of national minority. In
this case the use of aggressive methods of cultural imperialism can not be
acceptable, since in this way a serious national conflict can be provoked and
the chain of ones has flushed within the territory of the former USSR in the
beginning of 90-th years.  

Real needs including economical reasons  in regular spreading
of the information have occurred. Needs in instrument of selecting of this
information have came. In practice it could be realized together with the development
of technique of printing of books in XV — XVI centuries, when in Europe  the
first periodical press  appeared. Journalism became a special type of
activity.  Propaganda started its development earlier: the method of influence
upon the opponent, social political instrument of classes. The “relationship
between paper and reader was this being changed from the ideal one of a
tutorial and intellectual nature, to one of a market character”. (A.J. Lee “The
Origins of the Popular Press 1855 — 1914, London, 1976, p. 121).

Journalism may be non-connected with politics, but propaganda
can  not. As a powerful weapon propaganda always aspires to enlarge an 
application  of   its instrument: the word was added by a text in writing.
(Pamphlets, leaflets of the time of  the  Peasant’s War in Germany, Pugachyov’s

Journalism perhaps from the moment of its birth has grasped 3
functions. The first one is the selecting and lighting of the facts of every
day life, the second function is the spreading of appraisals and minds and the
third one is different shows.

The complication of relationship of such definitions as
journalism and propaganda is determined by that the journalism is more special
definition regarding to propaganda. The phenomenon of journalism has many
senses. The periodical press has wider sphere of interests than propaganda. It
includes every day informing about facts and actual events. In this respect
propaganda is a part of periodical presswork. From the other side journalism is
the complexity of technical means of circulation of information messages and
materials of propaganda (newspapers, TV, radio) and at this way journalism is
one of the instruments of propaganda machine. Propaganda has its own
distinguishing features in application of means and weapons of its influence.
In its arsenal there are placards, leaflets, photos, means of mass media.
Journalism addresses only a large auditorium and its activity can be determined
by system of means specially foreseen for circulation of its publications.
Propaganda is an ever-lasting companion of the periodical press; therefore many
journalists are propagandists as well. Even in the media there are many
propaganda materials or materials related to propaganda, are beyond from
periodical press. Newspapers are publishing official governmental messages; TV
canals are carrying out direct translations from meetings. This propaganda can
not be related to own creations of journalists, therefore for calling of the
propaganda, which is professional work of journalists, can be used the term
“Journalism propaganda”.

Periodical press has its an important mobilizing influence
upon people and stimulates social activity as well. It seems that journalism is
called as “literature made in a hurry” and in comparison with classical fiction
literature it (journalism) must have less influence. A fiction literature uses
more sharp, more bright and figurative word. But journalism, probably because
of effect of participation, has the strongest “impulse” influence upon minds, directions
and behavior of people. Perhaps one of the secrets of this influence is the
unique combination of means, which are available for journalism. Reality of the
fact which has been taken from the present day plus magnetic strength of an
idea plus understandable word and representation. Disappearance of one of these
three above-mentioned means destroys a complex of the modern journalism. For
periodical press a conjunction of three components: energy, propaganda and
publicity, — may be compulsory, since it’s the strong factor of influence upon
a social consciousness.

Propaganda is closely bound with a science ideology. The
ideology partly is the method of thinking which taken from without as well as
propaganda serves for ideology can not contain such idealism definitions as
truth, objectivity, impartiality. According to its character propaganda is
tendentious but not objective.

Soviet theoretic scientists have been tried to prove
Scientific features of propaganda through the term “ the true of an idea or a
mind” recognizing by that the right of elite, making up socials myths and
ideology, to operate with human consciousness. 

Though propaganda always brings to a man a moral and
directions ab extra. The question is at what degree a man can be operated and how
many different ideologies are aimed at a man, has a person the opportunity of a
choice in that — what illusion can be used?

Is a hamburger the part of national politics? Who is more
popular: Uncle Sam or Mickey Mouse? Can Michael Jackson, for example, to
inculcate a love to American culture? These questions could be analyzed through
the theory of creation of myths.

It’ s necessary to mention that creation of myths as well as
ideology and propaganda comes sufficiently closely to determination of cultural
diplomacy. If the following interpretation of creation of myths would
available: as the process of constructing of the image system with the subject
presented as essential for a person social reality, in this case the difference
with the subject of cultural diplomacy is not so large. In case of making the
question more simply and to determine the aim of a myth is to provide the
opportunity of orientation, the difference with the purposes of cultural
diplomacy becomes less. The problem is as usual since in context of political
science (Ortega, Gasset) myth is bound closely with political elite which is
working out political myths spreading upon all around. In myth there is not
limits, but cultural diplomacy is aimed at determined real subject. In this
case myths making up by cultural diplomacy are concerning the creation of myths
as a part is related to whole object.

Returning to aforementioned it may be concluded that a
numerous industry of amusements or “pop industry” can not bring all load of
cultural diplomacy. Positive impressions of culture of a state must be formed
in development. The word “ diplomacy” supposes not impulses but a process of thinking.
The impulses are corresponding to mass industry and love for popular music is
going away so quickly as a feeling of satiety after eating a hamburger.

Besides that since cultural diplomacy is leaning for the
support of the elite and the influence must be extended to the most intelligent
and educated population therefore the instruments must be delicate. For example
the song of Elton John “Yellow Brick Road” never can inculcate the love to
England but if the sound track would be provided by representation of the Big
Ben, House of Parlament and other great creations of British architecture, an
excellent result might be achieved.

Thus for the cultural diplomacy it would be more reasonable
to sell the TV picture “Variety Fair” with damage than to earn  much on a 
pop-star concert.

It can be supposed that if the pop-industry is always  aimed
at earning money,  cultural diplomacy has to work with damage for itself and
able to make money only in indirect way. In general the distinguishing feature
of pop-industry is internationalism, for example, the Disneyland is available
not only in the USA but the Freedom Stature can be seen  only in the United
States of America. Instruments of  cultural diplomacy as well as  cultural
imperialism must be unique.

Why the rude methods of  cultural imperialism have not been
refused at all? Probably in this period these are more operative. In one of
Eric Berne’s book the following example was described: when grasshoppers were
offered to two groups of people and the first group was  made to eat the
insects up and the other group was  just offered to test  them. In  result 
those people who were made to eat the insects, in general, called the taste
qualities of grasshoppers  as good. The other group which just tested of its own
free will said negatively about its tastes.

Eric Berne explained this case by one of the quality of the
human psychic: when something is imposed to a person our mind makes us to love
it. In any case for a some time. The other reaction when this influence is
finishing. In the time of “the cold war” many Western radio programs can be
heard in the USSR, such as “The Voice of America”, “Radio Liberty”. After the
disintegration of the USSR  very tendentious “The Voice of America”    became
non-interesting and lost its audience.

By the way it did not enlarge the sympathy to the USA. It may
be too simple illustration.

For example can be  used a powerful agitation  USSR’s
influence upon the former members of East system and what it resulted in
afterwards. All examples have one common feature: an action always turns by
opposite action. Even an action of political pressure such as Soviet tanks in
Czechoslovakia, Afghanistan and Chechen, American B 52 over Vietnam and rackets
Patriot over Baghdad. Regardless of that how many years or days mankind has
come without wars, the methods of rude influence will be continued in future
The question of effectiveness  of these measures is opened.

In the time of running of Napoleon the newspapers of France
started to describe this event beginning from the titles such as “ the
Blood-thirsty Tyrant Got away from a Cage” and this events were finished in
articles as “The Emperor is taking  his throne”. This particularity  of
journalism has been available till present time. 

However despite that which  methods have been applied:  mild
or heavy, cultural politics must be understood by them for whom it has been
carried on. Therefore it’s hardly to say about cultural imperialism, for
example, provided by CNN in respect of Russia or China, or Japan. There an
English speech can not been understood. In general, a large ethnic groups in
respect of their language are very conservative, feeling itself in its
consciousness as a part of a huge language group. In this connection one
American  saying is very interesting: a person who speaks one language is a
citizen, a person streaking two languages is an immigrant, three languages is a
vagrant. When it’s known before that the words won’t be understood a statement
can be impressed by gestures (Khrushchov’s shoe in the session of UN) or by
understandable images (Iraq tanks in Kuwait).

If  the military conflicts would be left , since  state and
commence electronic mass media must lead  determined  policy, because on the
contrary (TV is a “heavily selected interpretation of events” (R. Hoggart “Bad
news”. London, 1976, p.x.)), and cultural imperialism is becoming more and more
active. In case of considering a journalism as an important transmitter of
state propaganda or ideology, in the most powerful and developed countries the
chain: government — journalist — audience won’t be full because of principle of
pluralism, equality of political factors and institutions. Besides that since
the competition fights for audience the modern mass media  lost their opportunity
for strategic planning. For instance even the USA has worked at the image of
its country shown the interrogation of the USA President. For the politics of
the USA this fact is not positive. But the modern regulation of mass media
played here their part.  Perhaps, the commerce protects people from any kinds
of imperialism. “International bodies and international competitive pressures
are having an impact on the development of national structures of Broadcasting”
(Negrine. Op.cit. p. 210).


As a summary of this work several general moments can be
mentioned. At present time an opportunity of the manipulation with  human
consciousness, is especially real as never before since a spectator (listener)

a huge amount of information which can not grasp it.

From the other side an opportunity of influence became weaker
because of the increasing opportunity for comparison, the information became
more assessable and the one of the particular feature of foreign policy became
taking part of almost all countries of the world. Therefore a chance of the
influence upon the more non-developed countries using the powerful methods of
the cultural imperialism are minimized.

The opportunity of defend of oneself from the power influence
has increased proportionally to  increasing of the influence of the world
community where all countries take essential part.

In this work the statements interpreting the conjunction
between  journalism and propaganda (weapon of any foreign and inside
influence). However at present time journalists are being more  interested in
sensations, show and dynamics of programs. Therefore means of mass media which
without doubt multi — level structures can exist for means received from 
advertise sale: thus they are less interested in social orders. In this
situation commerce can  protect  an audience from ideological  influence.
Though “ for some observers the globalization of journalism carries with it the
threat of cultural imperialism — the dissemination across the planet of a journalism
dominated largely by North American (read CNN) values, agendas, and ideological
assumptions”. (Brian McNair “News and Journalism in the UK”. London, 1994, p.

Cultural diplomacy in contradistinction to pressure influence
of cultural imperialism, probably must influence upon elite classes negatively.
Since the educated people grasp rude propaganda methods at once and in many
cases able to separate information from ideology and infotainment as well. Thus
rude methods of industry will not work here.

For easier understanding it can be supposed that well done
programm on Discovery Canal about, for example, American Air Forces of the
World War II had more influence effect than the a direct translation of CNN
about  bombardment of Baghdad.


Type of reference:

Example of reference:


A.J. Lee (1976) “The Origins of Popular Press. 1855 —
1914”, London, p. 121


R. Negrine (1994) “Politics and the Mass Media in Britain”,

p. 47 — 48


R. Hoggart “Bad News”, (1976), London, p.x.


Brian McNair (1994) “News and Journalism in the UK”,
London, p. 188


A. Briggs, (1979) “Governing the BBC”, London, p. 211


R. Friedman (1992) “American Law”, Moscow

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