Culture & Politics

Monitor how media affect culture and politics

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Through news or entertainment programming, media can pass on cultural messages that at times support and at times confront cultural and political norms.

  • Class discussion: Music has gone global.  What can you learn about other countries from listening to their songs?  How have the musical traditions of other countries influenced the music of your country?

  • Student exercise: Pick a movie or TV program from your country.  If that movie or program were shown internationally, what would others learn about your country?  Now think about a program or movie from some other country that has been shown in your country.  What messages have you taken away from that programming?

  • Follow-up student exercises:
  • Soap operas: International  soap operas or telenovellas (Brazilian, Mexican, Indian, Egyptian, etc.) often travel across borders and even languages, changing words, expressions, mindsets in the countries that watch them.  Is this globalization of entertainment positive?
  • Reality shows: Many countries have created local versions of the British “Pop Idol” and the US “American Idol” television shows, but “American Idol” itself is transmitted to over 100 countries around the world. Like previous US shows that have had a global distribution (Dallas, Dynasty, Friends, Baywatch), “American Idol” is shown in countries that don’t entirely share the cultural expectations of Americans. What messages do audiences in diverse countries take away from seeing such programming as “American Idol”?