Golden Arches East: McDonald's in East Asia, Second Edition
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McDonald's restaurants are found in over 100 countries, serving tens of millions of people each day. What are the cultural implications of this phenomenal success? The widely read―and widely acclaimed―Golden Arches East argues that McDonald's has largely become divorced from its American roots and become a "local" institution for an entire generation of affluent consumers in Hong Kong, Beijing, Taipei, Seoul, and Tokyo. In the second edition, James L. Watson also covers recent attacks on the fast-food chain as a symbol of American imperialism, and the company's role in the obesity controversy currently raging in the U.S. food industry, bringing the story of East Asian franchises into the twenty-first century. Praise for the First Edition: "Golden Arches East is a fascinating study that explores issues of globalization by focusing on the role of McDonald's in five Asian economies and [concludes] that in many countries McDonald's has been absorbed by local communities and become assimilated, so that it is no longer thought of as a foreign restaurant and in some ways no longer functions as one." ―Nicholas Kristof, New York Times Book Review "This is an important book because it shows accurately and with subtlety how transnational culture emerges. It must be read by anyone interested in globalization. It is concise enough to be used for courses in anthropology and Asian studies." ―Joseph Bosco, China Journal "The strength of this book is that the contributors contextualize not just the food side of McDonald's, but the social and cultural activity on which this culture is embedded. These are culturally rich stories from the anthropology of everyday life." ―Paul Noguchi, Journal of Asian Studies "Here is the rare academic study that belongs in every library."―Library Journal
What does it mean that McDonald's has become an integral part of daily life throughout East Asia--so much so, in fact, that many Asians have ceased to consider the American hamburger chain "foreign" at all? The five scholars who contribute essays to Golden Arches East have taken a novel approach to cultural anthropology. Call it hamburger historiography, perhaps, but their analysis of McDonald's ascendancy in the East has much to say about both the corporation itself and the changing values of Asian societies. Despite widespread criticism of McDonald's as a symbol of global homogeneity and environmental degradation, not all of these changes have been negative. In Hong Kong and China, for instance, McDonald's has actually contributed to improving standards of bathroom cleanliness and table manners, according to the authors. And the transformation has cut both ways; McDonalds itself has been forced to adapt to local culture and tastes. In studying how McDonald's has been assimilated into Asian societies, Watson et al. provide a fascinating portrait of cultural accommodation, compromise, and change.
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