eColonialism Theory: Hegemony and the Role of American Media

By Thomas McPhail.

Published by The Global Studies Journal

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

eColonialism is a theory about the impact on the mind of repeated mass media messages, including commercials, on audiences around the world. Just as earlier colonizers, like Great Britain, France, Spain and other European powers sought out soil anywhere in the world as colonies, now multimedia and communication giants seek to capture the eyeballs, ears, and minds of millions of viewers, readers, or listeners. Time Warner, Disney, MTV, Blockbuster, Hollywood, CNN, BBC, FOX, Google, MSN (Microsoft), Yahoo!, the internet, and others--all seek to influence, not by force of arms, but by packaging media and messages to attract large audiences for advertisers around the globe.
The primarily American mass media over time will impact more and more individuals—primarily using the English language — to become more similar or homogeneous. Indigenous films, small sized cultures, and historical artifacts will become marginalized by a cultural tsunami created by high quality and mass produced media messages and systems. And it also extends itself to popular culture as well. Hip-hop music, rap, karaoke, break-dancing, video games, gossip and celebrity magazines, iPods — all play a part in furthering eColonialism.
As the global economy expands as the primary engine, a second wave—from Katmandu to Timbuktu—involves the spread, via media including the internet, of a global culture which can be explained and understood better by the theory of electronic colonialism.

Electronic colonialism theory explains how mass media and internet firms are leading to a new concept of empire. It will not be one based on military power or land acquisition but one based on controlling the mind. It is a psychological or mental empire. It is an evolving global “Empire of the Mind”. The global media are collectively influencing the minds, attitudes, values, and languages of individuals around the globe. It is an electronic mass media driven phenomena which over time will not only expand the frontiers of the multi-national communication firms but will far exceed even the vast reach of the once powerful and hegemonic British Empire. eColonialism outlines the hegemony of the USA as global American media and communication conglomerates seek out and view the global economy as their market to dominate.

Keywords: Hegemony, Mass Media, Theory, Globalization, Cultural Influence

Global Studies Journal, Volume 1, Issue 2, pp.45-54. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 554.027KB).

Dr. Thomas McPhail

Professor and Fellow, Media Studies, Center for International Studies, University of Missouri, Saint Louis, Missouri, USA

Tom McPhail is professor of media studies and a fellow in the Center for International Studies at the University of Missouri in St.Louis. He also serves as a media analyst for many media outlets including AP, UPI, USAToday, Toronto Star, Ottawa Citizen, NPR/PBS, and the New York Times. Previously he taught at the University of Calgary, and Carleton University (Canada), the University of Hawaii, Catholic University, and worked with UNESCO (Paris). He has published over 90 articles and several books, including GLOBAL COMMUNICATION: Theories, Stakeholders, and Trends (Blackwell Publishers, 2006) second edition. It is the widest selling book in the world dealing with international communication. He began his career with Marshall McLuhan (1911-1980)the leading communication scholar of the 20th century.

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