The Impact of International Television: A Paradigm Shift

The Impact of International Television: A Paradigm Shift

The Impact of International Television: A Paradigm Shift

The Impact of International Television: A Paradigm Shift

Synopsis

For several decades, cultural imperialism has been the dominant paradigm for conceptualizing, labeling, predicting, and explaining the effects of international television. It has been used as an unchallenged premise for numerous essays on the topic of imported television influence, despite the fact that the assumption of strong cultural influence is not necessarily reflected in the body of research that exists within this field of study. In The Impact of International Television: A Paradigm Shift, editor Michael G. Elasmar and his contributors challenge the dominant paradigm of cultural imperialism, and offer an alternative paradigm with which to evaluate international or crossborder message influence. In this volume, Elasmar has collected original research from leading scholars working in the area of crossborder media influence, and contributes his own meta-analysis to examine what research findings actually show on the influences of crossborder messages. The contributions included here illustrate points, such as: the contentions of cultural imperialism and the context in which its assumptions emerged and developed; the complexities of the relationship between exposure to foreign television and its subsequent effects on local audience members; the applicability of quantitative methods to a topic commonly tackled using argumentation, critical theory, and other qualitative approaches; and the difficulty of achieving strong and homogenous effects. In bringing together the work of independent researchers, The Impact of International Television: A Paradigm Shift bridges over 40 years of research efforts focused on imported television influence, the results of which, as a whole, challenge the de facto strong and homogenous effects assumed by those who support the paradigm of cultural imperialism. The volume sets a theory-driven agenda of research and offers an alternative paradigm for the new generation of researchers interested in international media effects. As such, the volume is intended for scholars, researchers, and students in international and intercultural communication, cross-cultural communication, mass communication, media effects, media and society, and related areas. It will also be of great interest to academics in international relations, cross-cultural and social psychology, intergroup and international relations, international public opinion, and peace studies.

Excerpt

My interest in developing this book can be traced to an observation I first made during the course of my doctoral studies at Michigan State University when I was reviewing the literature on imported tv effects. I found out that most writers, including those of books, articles, and conference papers, assumed that imported tv programs have a strong cultural influence on local viewers. However, when sorting articles according to their method of inquiry, I could only find a very few empirical studies about this topic. Where was the systematic evidence that being relied on for assuming strong influence? I figured that the evidence must have been profuse as the writers were so confident in their contentions of strong influence. I was determined to find it. the more searched, the disappointed became. As a student of both international communication and empirical methods inquiry, I could not believe that there were only very few empirical studies about this topic. Over time, I collected both published and unpublished manuscripts that followed an empirical approach. This effort eventually led me to prepare the first meta-analytic effort in this subject area, the earliest outcome of which was a paper presented during the Speech Communication Association (now National Communication Association) conference in 1993. a later version of this meta-analysis (co-authored with John Hunter) was published in Communication Yearbook 1997 and is reprinted in this book.

My effort to understand the process and effect of crossborder television gave me the opportunity to meet several empirical researchers with similar interests. Some of these researchers had active programs of study in this area and had conducted seminal investigations about this topic long before my interest in it had ever transpired. Others were my contemporaries. Without knowing it, we were all independently examining the same questions using similar methods.

This book brings together the works of multiple researchers in an effort to shed some light on the premise of strong and homogenous international television ef-

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