.In his discourse on "Cultural imperialism as 'media imperialism,'" Tomlinson stresses that the media are merely one fabric--though an essential one--in the vast patchwork of cultural domination.
According to Tomlinson, both Marxist and "pluralist" (non-Marxist) scholars tend to oversimplify the phenomena of media imperialism. He claims that the former, in their desire to adhere to rigorous theories, invariably equate media with culture. To Marxists, Tomlinson writes, a deluge of exported Donald Duck cartoons or reruns of "Dallas" is tantamount to a willful and comprehensive manipulation of "dependent" or subaltern cultures. In contrast, he criticizes the pluralist scholars for erring to the other extreme--that is, they are too vague. He asserts that the pluralists, in an effort to steer clear of any preconceived or holistic notion of imperialism, have been too careful to avoid associating media exports with any overall trend or theory of domination.
In fact, Tomlinson writes, the truth about media imperialism lies somewhere in between the two schools of thought. He claims Marxists go too far in assuming that culture and media are interchangeable. He cites the research of Conrad Lodziak, who maintains that, while many people do watch a lot of television, that is not all that they do. In other words, the media comprise only part of one's culture. On the other hand, Tomlinson points out, to separate media imperialism from overall cultural imperialism is unrealistic and pointless. Although the reverence that non-Marxists have for empirical evidence is admirable, he writes, pluralist scholars such as Chin-Chuan Lee risk becoming too "non critical" if they disregard the imperialist paradigm altogether.
Another writer who manages to winnow media from culture without abandoning the rigor of theory is Cuban scholar Leonardo Acosta. In his paper, "Mass Media and Imperialist Ideology," Acosta describes the media as the "s...