We cannot verify your location
Browse Book and Journal Content on Project MUSE

How "American" Is Globalization?

William H. Marling

Publication Year: 2006

William Marling's provocative work analyzes—in specific terms—the impacts of American technology and culture on foreign societies. Marling answers his own question—how "American" is globalization?—with two seemingly contradictory answers: "less than you think" and "more than you know." Deconstructing the myth of global Americanization, he argues that despite the typically American belief that the United States dominates foreign countries, the practical effects of "Americanization" amount to less than one might suppose. Critics point to the uneven popularity of McDonalds as a prime example of globalization and supposed American hegemony in the world. But Marling shows, in a series of case studies, that local cultures are intrinsically resilient and that local languages, eating habits, land use, education systems, and other social patterns determine the extent to which American culture is imported and adapted to native needs. He argues that globalization can actually accentuate local cultures, which often put their own imprint on what they import—from translating films and television into hundreds of languages to changing the menu at a McDonalds to include the Japanese favorite Chicken Tastuta. Marling also examines the unexpected ways in which American technology travels abroad: the technological transferability of the ATM, the practice of franchising, and "shop-floor" American innovations like shipping containers, bar codes, and computers. These technologies convey American attitudes about work, leisure, convenience, credit, and travel, but as Marling shows, they take root overseas in ways that are anything but "American."

Published by: The Johns Hopkins University Press

Title Page, Copyright

pdf iconDownload PDF (58.8 KB)

read more


pdf iconDownload PDF (65.5 KB)
pp. vii-ix

Somehow globalization is “American.” Both academic Marxians and Wall Street Journal editorial writers tell us so, differing in their degrees of guilt or pride. This assumption, in its modest form, merely acknowledges the worldwide reach of U.S. cultural or business activity, but at the extreme it hints of conspiracy, alleging that globalization is a nefarious...

read more

1. “Less Than We Think”

pdf iconDownload PDF (403.0 KB)
pp. 1-80

In the tiny streets of the Kitaguchi area of Nishinomiya, Japan, thousands of commuters flow in and out of the train station. You and I stand in the station entrance, hungry and looking for a place to eat. Huge neon signs cover the buildings, walls of language we don’t understand. It is overwhelming and bewildering. But we do recognize the logos of...

read more

2. The Resistance of the Local

pdf iconDownload PDF (337.2 KB)
pp. 81-143

On Sunday morning most of the French who live in old Avignon pay a visit not to church but to Les Halles. In this cramped market at the center of the city, they meet their neighbors, co-workers, their dentists and doctors, friends in from the country, their children’s teachers, and, later on, the priest. The food sold here is mostly local—mushrooms and cheese...

read more

3. “More Than We Know”

pdf iconDownload PDF (253.0 KB)
pp. 144-193

Behind the central market in Avignon, there is an ATM on the corner of a Crédit Agricole bank. During 2002 I went there once a month, withdrawing nine hundred Euros for my rent, food, and travel. I was withdrawing funds from my U.S. bank. If I had gone inside the Crédit Agricole to exchange dollars, to cash traveler’s checks, or to arrange a wire...

read more


pdf iconDownload PDF (105.8 KB)
pp. 194-205

The idea that the globe is being “Americanized” has been around for more than a century. In 1902 William T. Stead, a reform-minded English journalist, wrote a book titled The Americanization of the World. A thoroughgoing internationalist, Stead wanted Britons to overcome their snobbishness and to join with their former colony to enlighten the world...


pdf iconDownload PDF (104.1 KB)
pp. 207-213

Essay on Sources

pdf iconDownload PDF (140.2 KB)
pp. 215-230


pdf iconDownload PDF (496.2 KB)
pp. 231-238

E-ISBN-13: 9780801889332
E-ISBN-10: 0801889332
Print-ISBN-13: 9780801883538
Print-ISBN-10: 0801883539

Page Count: 248
Illustrations: 2 line drawings, 3 halftones
Publication Year: 2006