Cultural imperialism?

My column from today offers my latest thoughts on globalization and culture, drawing on the very interesting work of Omar Lizardo, a sociologist at Notre Dame.  We are often interested in culture for its symbolic value, and its ability to signal where we stand in local hierarchies.  The more egalitarian a society, the less important this signaling function becomes.  Here is one bit:

Hollywood movies are popular in Europe in part because of the successes
of European welfare states and of European economic integration. 
Western Europe has become more equal in its treatment of citizens, it
has moved away from an aristocratic class society, and it has strong
global connections.  All those factors favor an interest in American and
global popular culture; Hollywood movies often capture 70 percent or
more of a typical European cinematic market.  Social democracy, which
the Europeans often hold up in opposition to the American model, in
fact aided this cultural invasion by making Europe more egalitarian.

Here is Omar’s home page.  Here is Omar’s essay which I drew upon.  Here is one further bit:

…the data supplied by Professor Lizardo show that the poorer a country,
the more likely it will buy and listen to its own domestic music.  This
makes sense given that music is a form of social networking and the
relevant networks are primarily local.


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