Overturning Cultural Imperialism - The Asian Wave | Topics | DW | 03.03.2012
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Overturning Cultural Imperialism - The Asian Wave

Symbolbild Menschen Asien Thailand China Japan Indien Foto: AP/DW Fotomontage

27 June, 11:30 a.m., Plenary Chamber
Hosted by
Asian Media Information and Communication Centre (AMIC)

Is cultural diversity threatened by globalization? The cultural imperialism theory developed in the 1970s argued that Western powers extend their grip over the world not only politically and economically, but also culturally, by flooding other societies with their own cultural products. Cultural imperialism is the practice of imposing one's cultural products and values onto other societies, whether they want it or not, destroying native cultures in the process.

Asia is the world's largest regional market, and it is no longer just a consumer of Western culture but also a significant exporter of its own brands of indigenous and hybrid musical and dance forms. Asia has also a considerable diaspora population, which itself is a carrier and bridge of Western and Asian cultures. This flow of Asia-centric culture in turn challenges existing models of cultural power, and raises new questions about the changing role of the center-periphery dialectic - especially in the age of digital, mobile and social media, where Asia again is a major global player.

This workshop will explore whether globalisation of cultures leading to Western-imposed cultural imperialistic trends is still valid today. The aim of the discussion is to examine whether ubiquitous digital technology, Asia's economic ascendancy and regional (and global) networking without dependency on Western media companies could turn the theory of cultural imperialism on its head; and how Asian musical and cultural industries are countering the Western cultural imperialism forces and beginning to regionalize and globalize their music, cinema and soap operas. Are there lessons to be learned from Asia for European cultural industries in their quest to counter the Anglo-American cultural juggernaut?

The workshop will include presentations with screening of musical clips.


Park, Sung-woo
Freelancer Journalist and Researcher, Korea

Seneviratne, Dr. Kalinga
Head of Research and Capacity Building, Asian Media Information and Communication Centre (AMIC), Singapore

Thussu, Prof. Daya K.
Professor of International Communication and Co-Director of India Media Centre, United Kingdom

Verstraete, Katelijn
Deputy Director of the Cultural Exchange Department at the Asia-Europe Foundation (ASEF), Singapore