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The Effect of Globalization and Americanization on Mass Media

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Whilst the impacts that globalization has on mass media can be seen positively, they cannot all be said to be beneficial. Skeptical globalists take a different perspective on globalization, reasoning that the process isn’t as global as we would like to think. They say the phenomenon is a myth concealing the imbalance in the world of some people having more control than others. Skeptics insist globalization’s side-effects on society are much greater than its positive impacts.

Globalisation made the mass media into a vehicle by which cultural imperialism can occur. Through the exports of media from dominant states, they have the ability to push their ideas and agendas on to the rest of the world. Cultural imperialism today manifests itself through the media, especially mainstream and mass media. This is the domination of one culture over another (less powerful society) and some suspect that this will “contribute to a one-way transmission of ideas and values that result in the displacement of indigenous cultures.” (Santos, 2001, p. 43–48). The rest of the world will forsake their traditional values, fashions, styles and lose their cultural identities when they are solely exposed to western media. In addition, the media act as a socialization agent helping to form and convey social values and norms that, in effect, help to unify society. For example, the spread of Western ideals of beauty, being fair, light- eyed, tall and skinny with long legs, blonde-haired, large breasts and full lips, has influenced the decline in local’s idea of beauty. Using Kenya’s ideals of beauty which is being curvaceous

Mass media has proven to be a catalyst in the cause of Media imperialism impeding national growth. Media imperialism is goes hand in hand with cultural imperialism, where developing nations believe the Western way of life and ideas are superior and therefore desire to emulate them. This belief paired with the over-concentration of media from the West translates into locals consuming most of their content from the West. As a result leaving out their own artists and programmes. By not promoting their own media and minimum support coming to local artists, this hinders the development of the countries film, publishing and music industries. This could also have economic consequences on the country as companies in developed countries receive higher income from sales of their media products in developing countries. All while the nothing is being contributed to their economy.

Media Imperialism can alter real life and manipulate other countries image in the eyes of society. Media Imperialism pushes agendas using the agenda framing theory, by framing certain elements in ways that encourage some interpretations while discouraging others. This is enforced by constantly and frequently relating specific characteristics, behaviours and stories with certain countries/cultures. For instance, take Hollywood the dominant player in the film industry. Movies like SALT, Air Force One and Rocky IV, are good examples of how Hollywood frequently resorts to national stereotypes when depicting villains. All these films have one thing in common, using Russians as the villains. Russian characters have been at the forefront of the evil-doer limelight. Since Hollywood’s products are watched by millions worldwide, this persistent portrayal of Russians in this way slowly dominates society’s mind with the idea that Russians are wicked vindictive people.

Cultural homogenisation disrupts the identity of traditional societies. A combination of both media imperialism and cultural imperialism has led to Cultural homogenisation. Cultural homogenisation refers to the reduction of cultural diversity by popularizing and disseminating a wide variety of cultural symbols— not only physical elements, also behaviours, ideas and values. O’Connor defines it as ‘the process by which local cultures are transformed or absorbed by a dominant outside culture’. This impacts national identity and culture, which would be ‘eroded by the impact of global cultural industries and multinational media’. Americanization refers to the anticipated threat of losing one’s cultural identity by ‘thinking and acting American,’ by embracing ‘ways of doing things’ from America –be it in politics, economics or social and cultural practices. Taking for instance the news stations in Kenya are heavily modelled after the Western news channels like CNN and BBC. The way in which the reporting is done, the format of the news, even the designs using blue, red and white are similar. There is little differentiation to show that this is inherently from Kenyan culture and this is not.

Globalization has provided the opportunity for the formation of media conglomerates. This is the domination of the global media industry by a small number of powerful transnational media conglomerates. The global media industry is dominated by a small number of powerful transnational media conglomerates that own and control a diverse range of traditional and newer forms of media (Bagdikian, 2000). Conglomerates like CBS, Viacom, Time Warner, SONY, Disney and News Corporation function worldwide in the production, distribution, and selling of their media commodities. Global media giants position many of their goods to ensure dominance of the market and revenues. This makes it increasingly hard for companies from other countries to compete and sustain themselves. Media conglomerates are accused of being the leading cause of Americanization due to the great power they have. Thus less diversity in the news and entertainment centre due to lack of media ownership by different cultures and ethnic minorities.


The dynamic shift to a unified world has ultimately show us that Globalisation is not just about the technical advances used for long distance communication. It also applies, and maybe more significantly, to the communication and interactions of cultures from various parts of the globe. Mass media has gone through radical reconstruction with the coming of globalisation. Its nature, structure and content is no longer tied to national markets, audiences or boundaries, global forces now determine this.

This does not necessarily mean that these changes are positive, in fact while globalisation, on the surface fulfils people’s expectations and desires of the world coming together and it being beneficial to us. There are underlying reasons why this rose-tinted view is flawed. Taking a critical view, it is argued by Skeptical globalists that effects like media imperialism, cultural imperialism, cultural homogenization and media conglomerates depict the power imbalance.

In conclusion, despite faster communication, a global reach, easier access, more choice and more diversity, globalisation and its effects can be seen as media colonialism. Concepts explain how the negative impacts of globalization carry more weight than the benefits it has on the mass media.  

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The Effect Of Globalization And Americanization On Mass Media. (2021, December 16). GradesFixer. Retrieved January 27, 2022, from
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