"Cultural imperialism" and "cultural diplomacy"

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"Cultural imperialism" and "cultural diplomacy"


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 appeared.

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 imperialism.

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 spectators 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 its 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 isnt 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 its not excluded that the regime will aim its powerful ideological machine at its people. Its 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 Peasants War in Germany, Pugachyovs letters).

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