Cultural Imperialism

This site list offers links that raise questions about American popular culture in a global context. It includes links discussing “cultural imperialism,” the domination of other cultures by products of the US culture industry. And it contains links to sources of resistance to this process, including popular culture(s) produced in various countries around the world.

General Sites


Few topics on popular culture can be adequately researched on the web alone. These reading suggestions are designed as beginning points for further offline study.

Appadurai, Arjun. "Disjuncture and difference in the global cultural economy." Theory, Culture and Society, 7. 295-310 (1990). Rich article inventing a whole new vocabulary to talk about the interrelations among various levels of global culture: technoscapes (technology distribution), ethnoscapes (race/ethnicity, local vs. transnational), finanscapes (capital availability versus debt), mediascapes (local/global mass media), ideoscapes (circulation of ideas and ideologies).
Barker, Chris J. Global Television: An Introduction. Oxford, UK: Blackwell Publishers, 1997.
Lucid introduction to various elements and various forms of global television, including issues of cultural imperialism versus local production.
Boddy, William. "U.S. Television Abroad: Market Power and National Introspection." Quarterly Review of Film and Video, 15(2). 44-45 (1994).
Christian, W. T. Cultural Transfer or Electronic Imperialism?: The Impact of American Television Programs on European Television. Heidelberg: C. Winter, 1989.
Crothers, Lane. Globalization and American Popular Culture. Lanham, MD: Rowan and Littlefield, 2009. Fine introductory overview.
Dorfman, Ariel. The Emperor's Old Clothes: What the Lone Ranger, Babar, and Other Innocent Heroes Do to Our Mind. Boston: Penguin Press, 1996. Classic study of impact of US popular culture abroad, especially in Latin America.
Featherstone, Mike. "Global Culture: An Introduction." Theory, Culture and Society, 7, 1-14 (1990).
Giussani, B. "France Gets Along with Pre-web Technology." Cybertimes: New York Times on the Web September 23, 1997
May, Elaine Tyler, and Reinhold Wagnleitner, eds. Here, There, and Everywhere : The Foreign Politics of American Popular Culture. Hanover, NH: University Press of New England, 2000. Covers broad time period and many different examples of the impact of US mass media and pop culture abroad.
Morley, David, and K.Robins. Spaces of Identity: Global Media, Electronic Landscapes and Cultural Boundaries. London: Routledge, 1995.
Morris, Merrill, and Christine Ogan. "The Internet as Mass Medium." Journal of Communication, 46(1). 39-50 (1996).
Petras, James. "Cultural Imperialism in the late 20th Century." Journal of Contemporary Asia, 23(2). 139-148 (1993).
Salwen, Michael B. "Cultural Imperialism: A Media Effects Approach." Critical Studies in Mass Communication, 8(1). 29-38 (1991).
Schiller, Herbert. Who Knows: Information in the Age of the Fortune 500. Norwood, NJ: Ablex, 1981.
Strong, prophetic critique of the increasing monopolization of information by multinational corporations.
Smith, Anthony D. "Towards a Global Culture?" Theory, Culture and Society, 7. 171-191 (1990).
Tomlinson, John. Cultural Imperialism: A Critical Introduction. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1991. Excellent general overview of the cultural imperialism/global culture debate.