Culture & Imperialism
Recorded in Toronto, ON
on February 10, 1993.
Imperial power is constructed on a bedrock not only of force but of culture as well. Culture provides the crucial underpinning, justification and validation of empire. Its crudest manifestation is perhaps Kipling's "White man's burden." A more refined version is the French "mission civilisatrice," civilizing mission. Imperialism is often thought of as a European phenomenon of the past. In fact it continues today in different shapes and forms. Colonial attitudes are masked in new rhetoric. The U.S. carries out its imperial policies behind the facade of democracy and freedom. Culture and politics produce a system of control that transcends military power to include a hierarchy of representations and images that dominate the imaginations of both the oppressor and the oppressed.
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