Impact of western television programmes

Mass Communication Project Topics

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Considering the prominence of TV as a visual medium, this study sought to know the influence of media imperialism and the claim that it has affected and undermined local Nigerian norms and values. It specifically examines the influence of Western media content on the cultural values of Nigerian youths using English Premier League (EPL) clubs supporters in Abeokuta-North Local Government Area (LGA) as a case study.
The accelerating process of globalisation and the increasing interconnections between cultures involve an unprecedented challenge to modern sociology. The explosion of Western products (particularly American) across the globe has rocked the culture and values of several societies. The spread of these products has raised questions and concerns regarding United States’ dominance in the cultural sphere. Consequently, it has prompted many to charge the U.S. with a new form of colonialism − cultural imperialism. Thus, the need to apply cultural imperialism thesis as the underlying theoretical framework for the study.
Finding out the Influence of Western TV programmes on the cultural values of Nigerian Youths would be impossible unless the investigation uses meticulous procedures that are systematic, imaginative, logical and accurate.For this study, the survey method was adopted because it provides the best means of collecting the views of youths regarding the influence of TV on their perceptions, ideologies and behaviours.
The study sample comprising 30 youths in Abeokuta-North LGA was selected using three sampling techniques: stratified sampling, simple random sampling and convenience sampling. Interviews were conducted personally by the researcher to gather data from the field. In the process of the data analysis the researcher engaged in memoing and transcription of the data. The researcher then embarked on coding and developing category systems.
Culture refers to the full range of learned, socially transmitted human behaviour patterns such as language, beliefs, values and norms, customs, dress, diet, roles, knowledge and skills, and all the other things that people learn that make up the ‘way of life’ of any society. It is a pattern of human activities and the symbols that give these activities significance. It is what people eat, how they dress, beliefs they hold and activities they engage in.
Society was formed under an agreement would need a hold of morality that must be executed in a common life among members of the public. Consensus will be the rules of morality that will be done with a guide for all members of the community in conducting the various activities of life together. Rules of morality are embodied in the form of values and norms of society. In everyday life human interaction is guided by values and constrained by norms of social life. Norms and values at first birth was not accidental; because humans exist as social beings and must interact with the other.
Culture is a powerful human tool for survival passed on from one generation to the next through the process of socialisation. “The process of expanding culture has been under way for many centuries, but technologies have increased the speed and have also broadened the distribution of cultural elements beyond communities and nations’ territorial frontiers. (Nwegbu et al 2009)”
Notable amongst the wide spectrum of information and communication technologies that have redefined the cultural identity of several societies are mass media technologies. The mass media, most especially Television (TV), have become a part of our daily lives, as well as important sources of information, education, entertainment and correlation of the various parts of the society.
1.1 Background to the Study
Each mass medium has unique characteristics, which places it at advantage over other media. Television, for instance, has a wide range of advantages over other media structures as a result of its audio visual component. In fact, despite the unprecedented development of so many new media technologies over the past decade, television remains the most global and powerful of all media. Undeniably, television content are encompassing nowadays – from sitcoms and soap operas to reality shows, from sporting events to music video countdowns, and from our favourite blockbusters to animal documentaries. As anyone who knows a youth can attest, television is among the most powerful forces in adolescents’ lives today. It is an important medium of communication in the 21st century and is used for several reasons including information acquisition, education, preservation of cultural heritage, surveillance of the society, and entertainment as it provides millions with a constant stream of free leisure strategies and opportunities; family matters; messages about peers, relationships, gender, sex, violence, religion, food, values and cloths just to mention a few. In fact, besides (maybe) sleeping, a study by the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF, 2010) revealed that youths spend more time with media than with any other activity — an average of more than 7½ hours a day, seven days a week.
Despite the overwhelming qualities (light, colour, sound and motion) which empower television to command a major proportion of media consumption, the audience may reject its programmes if its content derails from their cultural traits. The multicultural nature of our society today exists as the effect of global media and the emergence of new technologies have paved way for access to diverse and remote cultures via our television, radio, internet, supermarkets and shopping centres. A society like Nigeria which is culturally, ethnically and linguistically diverse may recognise the enriching
value of diverse cultures and values, and use them in its own way. But then, discussion of this scenario normally emphasises on the negative effects rather than positive.
While it can not be argued that media imperialism has attracted the attention of many 21st century social science scholars, it should be pointed out that the issue is still very alien to Africans because scholarly works have been very limited on it.
This study focuses on the influence of media imperialism and the claim that it has affected and undermined local Nigerian norms and values. It specifically examines the influence of Western media content on the cultural values of Nigerian youths using English Premier League (EPL) clubs supporters in Abeokuta-North LGA as a case study. There are various types of media but this paper will only focus on television programmes, as the exposure is somewhat worldwide.
1.1.1 Why Youths Watch Television?
The advent of so many new media technologies have powered the worldwide explosion of media usage among youths in the last decade. Today, so many technologies are competing for their attention and the only way to get it is to provide them with something very relevant to their lives. Broadcasters acknowledge the fact that youths “split their enormous media time among many activities – social networking, viewing video, exchanging Instant Messages, viewing graphics and photos, listening to music, watching TV, playing games, looking up things, even catching up on the news – often simultaneously, (Vahlberg, 2010)”. Hence, they tailor their programmes for so many platforms – TV, the internet, mobile devices, and desktop computers. Developments with mobile media and the global expansion of the internet have driven much of the growth in consumption of television programmes.
So, why do adolescents expose themselves to TV at least seven hours a day? The obvious is that it is easily accessible and effortless to digest. The pictures as well as the sounds that go along with it are undoubtedly the major appeal of television. Hanson (2005: 256), in Akpan and Ihechu (2012), discloses that although people were limited to face-to-face communication in the past, people equally interact with television nowadays.
The researcher believes however that there is more to television than just pictures and sound. According to Signorielli and Kahlenberg (2003), in Obono and Madu (2010), television is the “first centralised cultural influence to permeate both the initial and final years of life as well as the years between”. The pair highlighted the fact that most infants are exposed to watching TV long before they are able to read. They observed that television “is there to keep the elderly company when all else fails,” adding that it is today’s major story teller. Proceeding, they advance that television “is one of the primary socialisation agents in society. Television cultivates, like parents, peers, the clergy and teachers through its stories, common world views, common values and common perspective on how men and women should think, behave and act”.
Similar to Keilhacker on film (n.d.), in Mass Communication Techniques Division (MCTD) of UNESCO (n.d.), the researcher resolves that the principal reasons for going to the cinema are psychological. First, he clinches that movie lovers go to the cinema to escape from the real world – for entertainment; and secondly, the desire to know the real world better – information acquisition. Corroborating, Himmelweit et al (n.d.: 15), in MCTD of UNESCO, finalise that television’s appeal for children consists of giving them the chance to “go behind the scenes”, providing them with images of the real world and about people. Adding that, it provides escape from the harsh world with audiovisuals of “lightheartedness, glamour, and romance, and permits the child to identify himself with different romantic heroes” (n.d.).
Buttressing, Schramm et al (n.d.: 57-58), in MCTD of UNESCO identified two main classes of reason: first, escapism –the obvious reason – “the passive pleasure of being entertained, living a fantasy, taking part vicariously in thrill play, identifying with exciting and attractive people, getting away from real-life problems, and escaping real-life boredom –in other words, all the gratifications that come from having a superlative means of entertainment in one's living room, at one's command”. The other, but usually passive reason for watching television, is the information component –realism – the desire to know and understand the world they live in. Clarifying, they suggest that “the girls say they learn something about how to wear their hair, how to walk and speak, how to choose garments for a tall or a short or a plump girl, by observing the well-groomed creatures on TV. They learn some details of manners and customs… Some of the boys say they learn how young men dress in California or New York. Some of them say they learn a lot by watching the good athletes … Children will say of television: news is more real when you see where it happens. (n.d.)”
While most studies have concentrated on the entertainment and information reasons for watching television, these same authors [Schramm et al (p.59)] propose a subsidiary factor – its social utility, (MCTD of UNESCO, n.d.). “For example, youths find that television is a useful tool in providing an excuse for boys and girls to enjoy each other's company, or furnishing something to do on dates … The previous evening's television programmes provide an excellent common ground of shared experiences for conversations … This social use of television is not essentially different from social use of an automobile or any other instrument that bulks large in a child's world. (MCTD of UNESCO, n.d.)”

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Impact of western television programmes