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L'impérialisme culturel et linguistique n'est pas un fantasme


Mis à jour : 9 Oct 2009

Pour ceux qui doutent de l'existence d'un impérialisme culturel et linguistique et voient dans la propagation de l'anglais un phénomène entièrement naturel, Robert Phillipson livrait déjà dans son ouvrage Linguistic Imperialism publié en 1992 de nombreux documents authentiques. Nous proposons ici une saine lecture : un article du professeur David Rothkopf "In praise of cultural imperialism?" de 1997 en version complète sur le web et en abrégé ci-dessous. Le discours prononcé par Gordon Brown le 17 janvier 2008, The World's Language, paraît s'en être largement inspiré.

core passages from the programmatic contribution by Prof. Rothkopf "In praise of cultural imperialism?"

(former member of the Clinton Administration, Dept. of Trade, and of Kissinger Associates, political and business consultants)

Source: "Foreign Policy" no. 107, Summer 1997, pp. 38-53


note: many good observations, however: erroneous conclusions. Explanatory commentaries added in [ ]! passage shortened ()/full text available in the web

"For the United States, a central objective of an Information Age Foreign Policy must be to win the battle of the world's information flows, dominating the airwaves as great Britain once ruled the seas...

More importantly, the decline of cultural distinctions may be a measure of the progress of civilization.. Successful multicultural societies, be they nations, federations or other conglomerations of closely interrelated states discern those aspects of culture that do not threaten union, stability, or prosperity (such as food, holidays, rituals, music) and allow them to flourish. But they counteract or eradicate the more subversive elements of culture(exclusionary aspects of religion, language and polit./ideolog. beliefs)" .....

Inevitably the United States has taken the lead in this transformation; it is the indispensable nation in the management of global affairs...

The drivers of of today´s rapid globalization are improving methods and systems of international transportation, devising revolutionary and innovative information technologies and services, and dominating the international commerce in services and ideas. Their impact affects lifestyles, religion, language, and every other component of culture.

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Business leaders... all read the same newspapers [apart from Business Week/Economist/Financial Times ??], wear the same suits, drive the same cars, eat the same food, fly the same airlines, stay in the same hotels, and listen to the same music [??]. While the people of their countries remain divided by culture, they have realized that to compete in the global marketplace they must conform to the culture of that marketplace.

.....

Towards a Global Culture

It is in the interest of the United States to encourage the development of a world in which the fault lines separating nations are bridged by shared interests...

And it is in the economic and political interests of the United States to ensure that if the world is moving toward a common language, it be English; that if the world is moving toward common telecommunications, safety, and quality standards, they be American; that if the world is becoming linked by television, radio, and music, the programming be American, and that if common values are being developed, they be values with which Americans are comfortable.

These are not simply idle aspirations. English is linking the world. American information technologies and services are at the cutting edge of those that are enabling globalization.

.............
Some find the idea that Americans would systematically seek to promote their culture to be unattractive... But the realpolitik of the Information Age is that setting standards.. and leading in the related development of the global trade in services [GATS!!] are as essential to the wellbeing of any would-be leader as once were the resources needed to support empire or industry.

........

Consequently it could not be more strategically crucial that the United States do whatever is in its power to shape the development of that

infrastructure, the rules governing it, and the information traversing it...

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Exporting the American model

Many observers contend that it is distasteful to use the opportunities created by the global information revolution to promote American culture over others, but that kind of relativism is as dangerous as it is wrong [because] American culture is an amalgam of influences.. from around the world.. Americans should not shy away from doing that which is so clearly in their economic, political and security interest - and in so clearly in the interests of the world at large. The United States should not hesitate to promote its values.. of all nations in the history of the world, theirs is the most just, the most tolerant, the most willing to constantly reassess and improve itself, and the best model for the future....

.. a "live and let live" stance is ceding the process to the not-always- beneficial actions of others. Using the tools of the Information Age is perhaps the most peaceful and powerful means of advancing American interests...

The critical prerequisite for gaining the optimum benefits of global integration is to understand which cultural attributes can and should be tolerated - and indeed, promoted - and which are the fissures that will become fault lines.

.........

It is also crucial that the United States recognize its limitations. Americans can have more infliuence than others, but they cannot assure every outcome.

Rather, the concerted effort to shape the development of the Global Information Infrastructure and the ideas that flow within it should be merely seen as a single component of a well-rounded foreign and security policy. (And since it is not likely to be an i n i t i a t i v e that is widely liked or admired or enhanced through explicit promotion, it is n o t an approach that should be part of American p u b l i c diplomacy e f f o r t s.)"

..........

Identity without culture

The opportunity lies before us Americans. The United States is in a position not only to lead in the 21th century as the domninant power of the Information age, but to do so by breaking down the barriers that divide nations [including the elimination of languages seen as barriers and their partial or complete replacement by English] - and groups within nations - and by building ties that create an ever greater reservoir of shared interests among an ever larger community of peoples...

While we should prepare for conflict, we should also remember that it is not mere idealism that we work for integration and in support of a unifying global culture ensuring individual rights and enhancing international stability: It is also the ultimate realpolitik, the ultimate act of healthy self-interest. Allowing ourselves to be swept up in the backlash against globalization would undermine America´s ability to advance its self-interests...

We must also fully understand the new tools at our disposal. We must understand the profound the importance and nature of the emerging infosphere - and its potential as a giant organic culture processor.."

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