Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Electronic colonialism theory was first started by Tom McPhail , a Canadian who began his career with Marshall McLuhan. Following a posting with UNESCO in Paris, McPhail wrote a book for SAGE entitiled Electronic Colonialism in the early 1980s. The theory is about the impact on the mind of repeated mass media messages, including commercials,on audiences around the world. Just as earlier colonists, like Great Britain, sought out soil anywhere in the world as colonies, now mutlimedia giants seek to capture the eyeballs, ears and minds of millions of viewers, readers, or listeners. Disney, MTV, Blockbuster, Hollywood, CNN, BBC, FOX, Google,the Internet, and others--all seek to influence, not by force of arms, but by packaging media to attract large audiences for advertisers around the globe. The mass media over time will impact more and more individuals--primarily using the English language-- to become more similar as indigenous films and artifacts become marginalized by a cultural tsunami created by high quality and mass produced media messages and systems.
Electronic colonialism theory explains how mass media are leading to a new concept of empire. It will not one based on military power or land acquistion but one based on controlling the mind. It is a psychological or or mental empire. It is an evolving global "Empire of the Mind". The global media are collectively influencing the minds, attitudes, values, and languages of individuals around the globe. It is an electronic mass media driven phenomena which over time will not only expand the frontiers of the multi-national communication firms but will far exceed even the vast reach of the failing British Empire.
A prime example of electronic colonialism is the new initiative of Google to digitalize the works of five major US and UK libraries. (The libraries are at Harvard, Stanford, the University of Michigan, Oxford, and the New York public library--all Anglo-saxon in history, focus, and orientation.) Google will help define the future of knowlege by its vast network power and global platform. The wealth of other, non-English,libraries around the world will be marginalized by the Google project. For example the 600 year old National Library of France will not contribute to the new data base and thus the 7 year old Google suddenly represents a major challenge to France's academic, cultural, and lingusitic heritage.
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