Problem

Cultural alienation

Nature:
As communications have proliferated in recent decades and brought the external world to millions of people previously living in isolated communities, so they have generated two major concerns: (a) The development of mediated communication is a technical and social need, but may also be a threat to the quality and values of culture. (b) The indiscriminate opening of doors to new experiences and impressions by the media sometimes alienates people from their own culture.

With the speed and impact of the media explosion, certain harmful effects have been observed. For many people, their conception of reality is obscured or distorted by messages conveyed by the media. The rapid increase in the volume of information and entertainment has brought about a certain degree of homogenization of different societies while, paradoxically, people can be more cut off from the society in which they live as a result of media penetration into their lives. The introduction of new media, particularly television into traditional societies has shaken centuries-old customs, cultural practices and simple life styles, social aspirations and economic patterns. Too often the benefits of modern communications - which disseminate unfamiliar, vivid, absorbing information and entertainment originating in urban centres and, more often than not, from foreign sources - have been accompanied by negative influences which can dramatically disturb established orders. At the extreme, modern media have trampled on traditions and distorted centuries-old socio-economic patterns.

Incidence:
An analysis of the cultural flows between countries shows a serious imbalance. The media in developing countries take a high percentage of their cultural and entertainment content from a few developed countries. The flow in the other direction is a mere trickle by comparison. The developed countries get the selected best of the culture (chiefly music and dance) from developing countries; the latter get a lot of what on any objective standard is the worst produced by the former. This unequal exchange is inevitably harmful to national culture in developing countries. Their writers, musicians, film-makers and other creative artists find themselves shouldered aside by imported products. Local imitations of imported culture and entertainment do not improve the situation; they too lead to the imposition of external values.
Broader Problems:
Alienation
Related Problems:
Cultural illiteracy
Values:
Alienation
Related UN Sustainable Development Goals:
GOAL 4: Quality EducationGOAL 10: Reduced Inequality
Problem Type:
F: Fuzzy exceptional problems
Date of last update
01.01.2000 – 00:00 CET