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A Level Media Studies



A policy of extending a country's power and influence through diplomacy or military force.

Cultural Imperialism
An important function of the media is in winning the support of people to the interests of the dominant classes. The media can also be a potential tool for control:

dominant Western cultures try to control developing countries. The Western way of life and its economic/political systems can be imposed on other societies as its lifestyle is sold through media products such as film and television. The dominant culture exporting media products is? Example?


Most European countries, including the UK have a history of military imperialism. They would conquer less developed countries and impose their rule on them. This was usually to ensure a supply of cheap materials from that country to help support the economy. Former British colonies include India, South Africa, Australia, Jamaica and the USA at one point, GB ruled half the world. What about France? Examples? The Class

French Colonies

These colonies eventually became independent and set up their own governments. However, it can be argued that much of the culture of the imperial countries (eg. Their language) still lingers on in the former colonies as a reminder of colonial rule. Also, the process of decolonisation has not prevented the Western powers from tightening their economic grip on the rest of the world. The wealth of economically developed countries increasingly depends on the cheap labour and raw materials supplied by the Third World.

Post-colonialism: Examples in media

Saunders of the River (1935) portrayed ideologies naturalising colonisation

The Four Feathers (1939) suggested the key role of the British army was to bring a civilising influence to India and Egypt.

Zulu (1964) represented the Zulu tribe in Africa as violent savages.

Ideology suggests that black skin is undesirable and white skin is desirable

Images like this helped reinforce a sense of superiority of colonising populations and the way the colonised African countries are sidelined

Post-colonialism does not emphasise a new, technologically advanced media world It emphasises the importance of the cultural, economic, political and military dominance of the past.
The absence of non-white images in the

media visually suggests a dominance of white culture.

Edward Said (1978) a key text. Critique of Western representations of Eastern culture. It can be argued that whenever Islam is represented, it

is shown through a Western perspective that usually fails to understand the nature and complexity of Islamic belief and culture. Instead, it reduces it to a few stereotypical characteristics. as if the colonies still existed.

In this way, the sense of oppression is just as great

Muslim Representation
What is the dominant representation of Muslims?

September 11th
Post-colonialism has a particular relevance following the events of 9/11 and the subsequent invasions of Afghanistan and

Iraq. This is an example of military imperialism in which the Western powers are intent on imposing democracy on Islamic countries in the belief that it is in their best interests.

Cultural stereotypes Western culture has often defined itself in relation to the

other of non-Western cultures. The other are seen as exoticexcitingdangerousromanticmysteriousth reatening. Complex, sophisticated cultures are reduced to a few simple components
EG. Advertisers offer consumers a taste of the East or

the mysteries of the Orient.

Alvarado (1987)
Representations of black people are founded on negative historical myths from the colonial past.
Suggests there are four types of representation

for members of the black community.

The HUMOUROUS comedians

The EXOTIC models

The PITIED Live Aid The DANGEROUS inner city gangs

Criticisms on this theory of stereotypes?

Unfair/ No truth to the stereotypes?

Positive and negative stereotypes are often seen in contemporary British media.

Musicians jazz, hip-hop and soul Sportsmen and women Comedians Criminals Socially dysfunctional Prostitute/sexually promiscuous The stud/pimp

Diaspora Identity
Where people experience both a sense of belonging to a cultural group that is other to the dominant culture of their country of residence. This sense of alienation or otherness is emphasised by a lack in the contemporary media of any cultural representations of their lives or experiences. It is not always negative Gurinder Chadha Bend it like Beckham (2002), Bride and Prejudice (2004) represented Asian culture in film in a non stereotypical way.

Key questions to consider in Coursework/ Exam

Within your key texts, are ethnic stereotypes challenged or reinforced? Do your examples of contemporary media represent the ethnic diversity of modern society? What are the theoretical perspectives within your texts?