Cultural Imperialism

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Note: This page is written in the 2014 system, which among other things conflated Cultural Imperialism with kyriarchy. This page is likely to in the future be revamped as an expression of categorism, but it is also likely that another term will be used instead.


In the Five Faces of Oppression model, Young presents Cultural Imperialism as oppression through making the actual lives of the oppressed invisible, while replacing them with stereotypes and othering: Constructing the culture of the privileged group as being “the culture, period” and constructing the cultures of the oppressed groups are constructed as deviations. The culture of the privileged group is portrayed with nuance, while the cultures of the oppressed groups are reduced to heavy-handed stereotypes. This duality creates the paradoxical sensation of being invisible and at the same time exposed. Two forms of stigmatization that in a way are each other's opposite, yet work in concert and reinforce each other. A central unfairness of this system is that while the oppressed group lack the means to spread it's culture to the privileged group, the privileged group has the means to impose its culture on the oppressed group. Thus the persons in the oppressed group learn to see themselves from the outside, and to judge themselves by the standards set by the dominant group.

In the categorism model, Cultural Imperialism is primarily represented by the facet called Kyriarchy. Cultural Imperialism can also be conceptualized as a facet of categorism in itself, although the overlap with the facets kyriarchy, invisibilization and othering might make it redundant to include on the list.