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COMM323: Comparative Media Systems

Unit 6: Latin American Media Systems   This unit introduces Latin American media systems as an interesting counterpoint to Asian media systems, which you studied in Unit 5.  Though both regions exhibit colonial influence in media content and regulations, Latin America has distinctively different practices in corporate regional media governances.  Many political-economic characteristics are unique to Latin American countries.  For example, large transnational media conglomerates are able to produce their Spanish television programs in the United States to cater to the Spanish-speaking communities living there, despite the sweeping popularity of regularly televised American shows.  But does this immediately mean that the Latin American cultural influence has won the battle?  Introducing the concept of cultural imperialism and hegemony may help us better understand how global influences define local media landscapes in this region.

Unit 6 Time Advisory
This unit should take approximately 16 hours to complete.

☐    Subunit 6.1: 5 hours

☐    Subunit 6.1.1: 1 hour

☐    Subunit 6.1.2: 2 hours

☐    Subunit 6.1.3: 2 hours

☐    Subunit 6.2: 6 hours

☐    Subunit 6.2.1: 2 hours

☐    Subunit 6.2.2: 4 hours

☐    Subunit 6.3: 2 hours

☐    Subunit 6.3.1: 1 hour

☐    Subunit 6.3.2: 1 hour

☐    Subunit 6.4: 3 hours

Unit6 Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this unit, the student will be able to: - Articulate the theoretical framework and concern of cultural imperialism and the concept of hegemony. - Discuss and examine the political, economic, and cultural influence of major local media corporations. - Explain current media infrastructure developments in Latin America.

6.1 Cultural Imperialism   6.1.1 Definition   - Reading: New Influencer: “Cultural Imperialism” Link: New Influencer: “Cultural Imperialism” (HTML)

 Instructions: Please click on the link above and read the short
introduction on cultural imperialism, its major argument, its two
models, contributions as well as criticism.  Please pay particular
attention to the two ways local countries responding to such imposed
influence, that they “either adopts this influence as a deliberate
commercial or political strategy, or simply absorbs this influence
unreflectively as the result of the contract.”  Use this statement
as the key to make sense with the process of media system
development in Latin American as we begin country-specific
journey.  

 Reading this article should take approximately 1 hour.  

 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.

6.1.2 Cultural Imperialism: Identity and Western Media Influence   - Reading: The World Association for Christian Communication (WACC): Philip Schlesinger and Nancy Morris’ “Cultural Boundaries: Identity and Communication in Latin America” Link: The World Association for Christian Communication (WACC): Philip Schlesinger and Nancy Morris’ “Cultural Boundaries: Identity and Communication in Latin America” (HTML)

 Instructions: Please click on the link above and read the article. 
Many believed that cultural imperialism as an academic term was
originated form study of culture and communication discourse in
Latin American countries.  This article situated the discussion of
“collective identity” for the entire Latin America family in the
context of cultural imperialism to unveil the dynamics between
western media message and local indigenous culture.  The article
also incorporates valuable scholarship from critical scholars like
Dorfman and Mattelart’s (1970) on Disney: “Why is Disney a
threat?.... [B]ecause this product of Disneyland ... is imported,
along with so many other consumer objects, to the dependent
country.... [B]y importing a product ... we are also importing the
cultural forms of that society.”  While you move one with your
reading, try keeping the definition of cultural imperialism in mind
and take notes whenever you find something that seems interesting
and relevant to the discussion of cultural imperialism.  

 Reading this article should take approximately 2 hours.  

 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.

6.1.3 The Myth of Cultural Imperialism: Cases Beyond the Theory   - Reading: The Freeman: Robert K. Rauth Jr.’s “The Myth of Cultural Imperialism” Link: The Freeman: Robert K. Rauth Jr.’s “The Myth of Cultural Imperialism” (HTML)

 Instructions: Please click on the link above and read the article. 
Some of the critics that cultural imperialism usually receives are
that usually the responses from local community have been ignored. 
This delicious piece of reading provided several interesting cases
in which local communities reacts to incoming American commercial
cultural icons, including the difficult landing of Disneyland Theme
Park in Paris and fierce reaction against American’s attempts at
opening Brazil’s local computer market, when President Reagan
depicted as Rambo, “slamming Brazilian President José Sarney over
the head with a computer.”  After this reading, you should have a
good idea of cultural imperialism, its theoretical claim and how it
may relate to real-life examples.  We will then discuss the case of
Brazil to further understand the concept of cultural imperialism.  

 Reading this article should take approximately 2 hours.  

 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.

6.2 Media Development in Brazil   6.2.1 Overview   - Reading: United Nation Education Science and Cultural Organization (UNESCO): “Media Development in Brazil” Link: United Nation Education Science and Cultural Organization (UNESCO): “Media Development in Brazil” (HTML)

 Instructions: Please click on the link above and read the overview
of media development in Brazil.  This overview provides information
on commercial media, public media, and community based media and
capacity of professional training.  Please also pay attention to the
fact that due to historical reasons, media ownership in Brazil is
highly concentrated.  Keep these in mind as we move on with a
discussion and analysis of this country.  

 Reading this article should take approximately 2 hours.  

 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.

6.2.2 Media and Pop Culture in Brazil and Latin America   - Reading: Lisa Shaw and Stephanie Dennison’s Pop Culture in Latin America! Media, Arts and Lifestyle: “Chapter 10. Mass Media” and “Chapter 11. Popular Cinema” Link: Lisa Shaw and Stephanie Dennison’s Pop Culture in Latin America! Media, Arts and Lifestyle: “Chapter 10. Mass Media” and “Chapter 11. Popular Cinema” (HTML or PDF)

 Instructions: Please click on the link above and jump to page 240
using the box on the top of the page to read Chapter 10 and Chapter
11.  Pay particular attention to facts relevant to concentration of
media ownership, as well as the western influence on indigenous
culture in Brazil.  Some argue that since the programs produced by
TV Globo, Brazil’s largest TV program producer have been exported to
more than 130 countries, influence of cultural imperialism gradually
disappeared as Brazil is exporting TV programs to the outside
world.  Do you agree with this argument or not?  Take a closer look
at the picture on page 244, for example, in which Brazilian singer,
actress, and television phenomenon Xuxa posts in front of the
camera.  Pay attention to the way she presented herself and ask what
type of message she was trying to send to her audience.  Do you
think the program is truly Brazilian or is in fact an American
version of Brazil?  Move on with your reading of both chapters
following this pattern.  Always look for traces to understand how
local media respond to American commercial cultural influence.  

 Reading these chapters should take approximately 4 hours.  

 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.

6.3 Major Media Corporation: Televisa   6.3.1 History of Televisa   - Reading: Televisa: “Corporate History” Link: Televisa: “Corporate History” (HTML)

 Instructions: Please click on the link above and read the webpage. 
Pay attention to a series of merger and corporation between Televisa
and other major media corporations around the world, including
Univision, NBC, and Sky.  What does this imply in terms of the
global impact it may produce through such enhanced distribution
channel?  Relating back to the discussion in previous chapter, does
such enhanced distribution always suggest greater presence of
authentic Latin American culture?  

 Reading this webpage should take approximately 1 hour.  

 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.

6.3.2 Televisa’s Influence   - Reading: The Guardian: Jo Tuckman’s “Pressure on Mexican Presidential Candidate in Televisa Media Row” Link: The Guardian: Jo Tuckman’s “Pressure on Mexican Presidential Candidate in Televisa Media Row” (HTML)

 Instructions: Please click on the link above and read the news
article.  This story provides an overview of the alleged scandal in
which Mexico’s presidential candidate, Andrés Manuel López Obrador,
has been charged of purchasing favorable coverage on Mexico’s
biggest television network, Televisa.  As the last piece of reading
material in Unit 6, this story reminds us the complicated picture
among Latin America countries that reflects both highly concentrated
media ownership and historically strong cultural influence coming
from the West.  Such complexity in part triggered political dynamics
described in news stories like this.  Try connecting the dots as you
read the story and see if you can come up with your insight of the
situation: what have been the major social, cultural, and political
forces behind the scene?  

 Reading this article should take approximately 1 hour.  

 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.

6.4 Unit 6 Discussion   - Activity: The Saylor Foundation’s “COMM323 Course Discussion Board” Link: The Saylor Foundation’s “COMM323 Course Discussion Board”

 Instructions: After reviewing the unit materials, please post and
respond to the following topics on the course discussion board. 
Feel free to start your own thread or respond to other students’
postings.  

-   What is the definition of cultural imperialism?  Try to relate
    your understanding to the Dorfman and Mattelart’s (1970)
    scholarship on Disney, where they argue ask: “why is Disney a
    threat?.... [B]ecause this product of Disneyland ... is
    imported, along with so many other consumer objects, to the
    dependent country.... [B]y importing a product ... we are also
    importing the cultural forms of that society.”
-   Some argue that since the programs produced by TV Globo,
    Brazil’s largest TV program producer have been exported to more
    than 130 countries, influence of cultural imperialism gradually
    disappeared as Brazil is exporting TV programs to the outside
    world.  Do you agree with this argument or not?  Why or why not?

Posting and responding on the discussion board should take
approximately 3 hours.