Mozart, but also Coca-Cola

The question is presented here as an either/or: either cultural imperialism or indigenous cultures. This is how it nearly always is put, particularly in a political context. My belief is this obscures the real situation, is long out of date.

It is not exactly a new phenomenon, that dominant cultures oppress or suppress weaker cultures. It has happened throughout history. Empires and religions rise, absorb others, fall again, and the dominated cultures may or may not have been enriched by the contact. What is new now is the thoroughness and extent of the domination. There is not one culture in the world which has not been influenced by the technological dominance associated with Europe. European (white) culture has unified the world for better or worse. But the domination is no longer purely white, or European. When China overruns and destroys Tibet’s culture, in the name of Marxism, a Western ideology, then something else is happening.

But what has also happened, has for at least half a century, is that peoples everywhere have vigorously resisted, and often with the help of individuals and groups inside the dominating culture. This resistance, this cultural self-consciousness, is part now of how the world sees itself, and individual cultures have given birch to all kinds of writing — prose, drama, poetry, the literature of cultural identity — and this is often linked with music and film, all reacting with each other.

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