counter create hit Golden Arches East: McDonald's in East Asia - Download Free eBook
Hot Best Seller

Golden Arches East: McDonald's in East Asia

Availability: Ready to download

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? Does the introduction of American fast food undermine local cuisines, many of them celebrated for centuries? Does it, as some critics fear, presage a homogeneous, global culture? These are but a few of the quest 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? Does the introduction of American fast food undermine local cuisines, many of them celebrated for centuries? Does it, as some critics fear, presage a homogeneous, global culture? These are but a few of the questions confronted in this engaging study that vividly demonstrates how the theories and techniques of anthropology can be used not only to examine obscure peoples and exotic practices, but to shed light on the motivations and behavior of people conducting their daily lives in some of the major population centers of the world.Earlier studies of the fast food industry have emphasized production, focusing on labor or management. This book takes a fresh approach to the industry by concentrating on the perspective of the consumer. It analyzes consumers' reactions to McDonald's in five East Asian cities: Hong Kong, Beijing, Taipei, Seoul, and Tokyo. What do they have to say about McDonald's? How is fast food perceived by those who pay to eat it? How do their preferences and biases affect the system of production? The book 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, Taipei, and Tokyo. In Beijing, the process of localization has barely begun, with consumers more interested in the experience of eating at McDonald's than in the food itself. In Seoul, many nationalists treat the Big Mac as a symbol of Yankee imperialism; meanwhile, increasing numbers of Korean children are celebrating their birthdays atMcDonald's. Localization is not, however, a one-way process; the corporation has also had to adapt in order to flourish in new settings. The book demonstrates how consumers, with the cooperation and encouragement of McDonald's management, have transformed their neighborhood restaurants into leisure centers, afterschool clubs, and meeting halls. The contributors pay special attention to the effects of these activities on family organization, education, and socialization, and conclude that it is no accident that the fast food boom corresponds to the rise of a child-centered consumer culture in East Asian cities.


Compare

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? Does the introduction of American fast food undermine local cuisines, many of them celebrated for centuries? Does it, as some critics fear, presage a homogeneous, global culture? These are but a few of the quest 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? Does the introduction of American fast food undermine local cuisines, many of them celebrated for centuries? Does it, as some critics fear, presage a homogeneous, global culture? These are but a few of the questions confronted in this engaging study that vividly demonstrates how the theories and techniques of anthropology can be used not only to examine obscure peoples and exotic practices, but to shed light on the motivations and behavior of people conducting their daily lives in some of the major population centers of the world.Earlier studies of the fast food industry have emphasized production, focusing on labor or management. This book takes a fresh approach to the industry by concentrating on the perspective of the consumer. It analyzes consumers' reactions to McDonald's in five East Asian cities: Hong Kong, Beijing, Taipei, Seoul, and Tokyo. What do they have to say about McDonald's? How is fast food perceived by those who pay to eat it? How do their preferences and biases affect the system of production? The book 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, Taipei, and Tokyo. In Beijing, the process of localization has barely begun, with consumers more interested in the experience of eating at McDonald's than in the food itself. In Seoul, many nationalists treat the Big Mac as a symbol of Yankee imperialism; meanwhile, increasing numbers of Korean children are celebrating their birthdays atMcDonald's. Localization is not, however, a one-way process; the corporation has also had to adapt in order to flourish in new settings. The book demonstrates how consumers, with the cooperation and encouragement of McDonald's management, have transformed their neighborhood restaurants into leisure centers, afterschool clubs, and meeting halls. The contributors pay special attention to the effects of these activities on family organization, education, and socialization, and conclude that it is no accident that the fast food boom corresponds to the rise of a child-centered consumer culture in East Asian cities.

55 review for Golden Arches East: McDonald's in East Asia

  1. 5 out of 5

    Minli

    I'd read excerpts of this book in my Changing East Asian Foodways class back in college, and always intended to come back to it and read the whole thing. I'm glad I did. First, Watson writes very clearly in his disclaimer that neither he nor the rest of the anthropologists who contributed essays are in any way compensated by McDonald's. This is important because this is clearly an academic work, not for a popular audience, and not for someone with a political agenda. If you go into this book bel I'd read excerpts of this book in my Changing East Asian Foodways class back in college, and always intended to come back to it and read the whole thing. I'm glad I did. First, Watson writes very clearly in his disclaimer that neither he nor the rest of the anthropologists who contributed essays are in any way compensated by McDonald's. This is important because this is clearly an academic work, not for a popular audience, and not for someone with a political agenda. If you go into this book believing McDonald's is evil, it's not going to change your mind. The famous quote is that anthropologists make the familiar strange and the unfamiliar familiar. Watson notes that some people in the discipline scoff at "everyday ethnography" or "anthropology in one's own backyard," especially since long what we knew as field work took place in isolated communities in Indonesia, Africa, South America, and so on. Frankly, I've long been fascinated by how humans, regardless of what society they live in, relate to each other, and one of the most obvious ways is through commensality--food. Watson et al. have earmarked McDonald's as particularly symbolic. The "duh" in his thesis is that McDonald's means different things to different people. He and four colleagues contribute an essay each of McDonald's in their respective areas of interest--Beijing, Hong Kong, Taipei, Seoul/Korea, Japan--and note how McDonald's has, to an extent, become localized. Just recently, upon arriving in Beijing, my cousin wanted to take me to KFC. I was like, "I didn't come all this way to eat KFC!" but it became increasingly apparent that KFC (plus McDonald's and other American chains) meant something different to her. Likewise, McDonald's is treated as a safe, sanitary, modern, youth-oriented, landmarked and ultimately American meeting place for nearly all these areas, according to these anthropologists. Except for possibly Tierney's, which she illustrates in her Japan essay. The book goes into all of this in depth. The strongest essays were Taipei and Japan, as they included the most ethnographic content and less sweeping business lore. While Golden Arches East is a collection of essays on a similar topic, many of the essays came to the same conclusions, and it felt repetitive. Finally, as Watson first published this series in '96 before McDonald's PR went down the drain, the Update (written in '05) was necessary to situate this book in its own context. It was a solid, swift read, though I still wish it had included more ethnography. I love a good narrative.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Gabriel

    A book that at once challenges traditional assumptions about globalization and perceived "American Cultural Imperialism" while enlightening the reader on many surprising differences between Western and Eastern culture, most of which you have probably never even considered. This book will be eyeopening for business and anthropology majors alike. A book that at once challenges traditional assumptions about globalization and perceived "American Cultural Imperialism" while enlightening the reader on many surprising differences between Western and Eastern culture, most of which you have probably never even considered. This book will be eyeopening for business and anthropology majors alike.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Lee

    I read the chapter on McDonalds in Beijing and the chapter on McDonalds in Taipei, and I was surprised by how unsophisticated both these analyses were. Both chapters that I read seemed to spend most of their chapters talking about how much locals imbued McDonalds with a symbolic foreignness, and then, they would, at the end of the chapter, turn around and say, "Well, I guess McDonalds in this Asian city is really very localized." The evidence belied the conclusions; it felt like James Watson, th I read the chapter on McDonalds in Beijing and the chapter on McDonalds in Taipei, and I was surprised by how unsophisticated both these analyses were. Both chapters that I read seemed to spend most of their chapters talking about how much locals imbued McDonalds with a symbolic foreignness, and then, they would, at the end of the chapter, turn around and say, "Well, I guess McDonalds in this Asian city is really very localized." The evidence belied the conclusions; it felt like James Watson, the editor of this volume, had a conclusion, and the authors were just happy to be able to get published, so they changed their conclusion to whatever he wanted, despite their evidence. That said, I liked a lot of what I read in these chapters. I thought that the information that they collected was fascinating. It is just that, the chapters largely lacked structure, possibly because you had these two motives pulling in different directions, one the evidence the authors had collected and the other, the predetermined conclusion that the editor had set out. Read approximately 30%.

  4. 5 out of 5

    prcardi

    Composition: 1/5 Evidence: 2/5 Writing Style: 3/5 Balance: 2/5 When I selected and first started to read this, it appealed to me on four points: 1) it was (relatively) current, 2) it was about cultural imperialism, 3) it was an anthropological inquiry, and 4) its chapters were written by four veteran ethnographers. I was disappointed on all four points. 1) One can be forgiven for thinking this was more current than it actually is. The copyright is for 2006, and nothing in the introduction dates it. Composition: 1/5 Evidence: 2/5 Writing Style: 3/5 Balance: 2/5 When I selected and first started to read this, it appealed to me on four points: 1) it was (relatively) current, 2) it was about cultural imperialism, 3) it was an anthropological inquiry, and 4) its chapters were written by four veteran ethnographers. I was disappointed on all four points. 1) One can be forgiven for thinking this was more current than it actually is. The copyright is for 2006, and nothing in the introduction dates it. What I didn't realize was that the five chapters that principally made up this book were originally published in 1997 (often based on work done in 1994), and the only updating involved was a brief concluding chapter that summarizes how McDonalds has been regarded in the news and in policy around the world since 1997 and until 2006. 2) Though Watson presents this as a study of McDonalds as a participant (or leader) in cultural imperialism, he and the other authors tend to focus more on terms such as globalism, transnationalism, and localism. It looks like cultural imperialism is made to be synonymous with a strong form of globalism (in which all social and personal activity is comprehensible to everyone, everywhere, on the globe). This is clearly a straw-man argument, and I know of no respected authors who advocate that cultural homogenization, cultural imperialism, or globalism take this form. Still, I could have worked with the straw man argument had Watson at least presented a clear thesis with it. Unfortunately that never surfaced. 3) The introduction spends a surprising amount of time arguing for why the consumption habits of McDonald's patrons is a worthy object of anthropological inquiry. I'm convinced; I was sold when I picked the book up. I also wonder what chains and production-line food service is doing to local food industries, particularly in Asia. I was dismayed, then, to find that only about 5% of the material here is actually an ethnography of people who eat at McDonalds. This is about 80% history and background information taken from secondary sources and on the introduction and development of the McDonalds chain in Beijing, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan, and South Korea (each receiving its own chapter). 4) I also hold the book in low regard for its rigor. I shuddered when the chapter on Beijing drew conclusions about male McDonalds customers from a survey sample of 29 male college students. Not interviews...not a write-up of ethnographic field work...not even of people eating at McDonalds....but a survey completed over one of two days while students were on campus. Similarly, there were common references throughout to what the "American" consumer desired and valued, but for the bulk of the book, there was no evidence for where these ideas of the American consumer came from. A bit of evidentiary support came in the final substantive chapter. There the author compares Korean patrons versus that of American patrons. The data for the Korean patrons comes from 1994 and is drawn from "field observations at two separate McDonald's restaurants in Seoul." 90 observations over two days and two locations.... That's not enough to support the conclusions he wants to draw. But, here is the worst part, the American study he is comparing to was from a single 1978 New Jersey Burger King. Not a national survey, not an in-depth study of a single restaurant, not even a McDonalds!. And worst of all, it was 16 years previous. We're not even comparing the same generation of children now. These aren't isolated or atypical examples, the chapters were full of overly broad generalizations, anecdotal reports, and half-hearted analysis. This read like the editor had a neat idea and recruited some other respected authors in the field to help him to put it together. But no one took it seriously or made it a major part of their workload. As experts, each with over 25 years of field experience, they mostly drew upon their past experiences and beliefs, and each submitted a chapter that would have been better consolidated and presented as an op-ed to a major newspaper (20 years ago). It was a lazy work. There are some interesting descriptions though, and I think that each contributor has good insights and some remarkable observations. This, however, was dated when it was published, and the "second edition" is a perfect example of making some superficial changes and essentially re-releasing the same book. I would have liked to have read the book that actually looked like what the introduction suggested. And I would have liked to have read a second edition that actually went back and reconsidered the case studies with new fieldwork.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Vonia

    Quite absorbing. The authors explore why this brand is such a phenomenon, how it has always been, still is, always will be involved throughout the world politically, socially, economically. It is a symbol here, but the symbolism it has in the Asian countries is different, with almost an otherworldly feel to it. Individuals have admitted to dining there for what they call "the experience". Against cultural, religious, personal, social beliefs. The book involves ethnographic studies, sociology, an Quite absorbing. The authors explore why this brand is such a phenomenon, how it has always been, still is, always will be involved throughout the world politically, socially, economically. It is a symbol here, but the symbolism it has in the Asian countries is different, with almost an otherworldly feel to it. Individuals have admitted to dining there for what they call "the experience". Against cultural, religious, personal, social beliefs. The book involves ethnographic studies, sociology, anthropological views, etcetera. An extensive view of the company, but quite an engaging panoply. One thing is evident. A century from now, no matter how shamefully we may look at this company here, they will be around....

  6. 5 out of 5

    Brandon

    Watson et al produce an argument defending McDonald's and globalization. The authors research their topics by interviewing restaurant managers, workers, and executives as well as consumers of McDonald's in Hong Kong, Beijing, Seoul, Tepei, and Tokyo. They find that due to a massive effort to localize McDonald's, it is difficult to accuse McDonald's as a company supporting cultural imperialism. The only downside to this book is that it is somewhat out of date. Most of the research was done in the Watson et al produce an argument defending McDonald's and globalization. The authors research their topics by interviewing restaurant managers, workers, and executives as well as consumers of McDonald's in Hong Kong, Beijing, Seoul, Tepei, and Tokyo. They find that due to a massive effort to localize McDonald's, it is difficult to accuse McDonald's as a company supporting cultural imperialism. The only downside to this book is that it is somewhat out of date. Most of the research was done in the mid 1990s, prior to a rejection of McDonald's worldwide due to its marketing practices and health effects.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Graham Barrett

    One of my favorite books I read for class in college (Watson was actually a guest teacher at my college for a semester). It just was one of those weird topics you'd never think about but when you learn more about it, it's a fascinating subject. I definitely encourage others (even foodies who detest fast-food chains like McDonald's) to check it out if they want to learn more about America's exports to foreign cultures, how those cultures respond, and what local culinary and social customs get bro One of my favorite books I read for class in college (Watson was actually a guest teacher at my college for a semester). It just was one of those weird topics you'd never think about but when you learn more about it, it's a fascinating subject. I definitely encourage others (even foodies who detest fast-food chains like McDonald's) to check it out if they want to learn more about America's exports to foreign cultures, how those cultures respond, and what local culinary and social customs get brought into the mix.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Matt Griffin

    Cool anthropological study. It was surprising to read of some of the differences in the perception of McDonald's in Asia both symbolically and regarding dietary norms. McDonald's really capitalized on the post-Confucian family shift in Asia. An update at the end (book was published in 97 and research was done in 94) made an interesting point about Cina, Korea, and Japan also having problems with aging populations that will be interesting to observe heading into the future. Cool anthropological study. It was surprising to read of some of the differences in the perception of McDonald's in Asia both symbolically and regarding dietary norms. McDonald's really capitalized on the post-Confucian family shift in Asia. An update at the end (book was published in 97 and research was done in 94) made an interesting point about Cina, Korea, and Japan also having problems with aging populations that will be interesting to observe heading into the future.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Betsy McGee

    Personally, I loved this book, and it is one I will read and reference many times in the future. This book uses McDonald's to illustrate the point about globalism and the creating on one multi- and trans-national culture. The world is shrinking, and this book gives us prime examples of how and to what extent. Personally, I loved this book, and it is one I will read and reference many times in the future. This book uses McDonald's to illustrate the point about globalism and the creating on one multi- and trans-national culture. The world is shrinking, and this book gives us prime examples of how and to what extent.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Lena

    This book offers great insight into organizational anthropology of McDonald's and how the company tried to fit in with the Asian market. It is quite dated (uses data from 1994) but it is still relevant. It would be great to see a follow up study on this topic. The Japan part was particularly interesting. This book offers great insight into organizational anthropology of McDonald's and how the company tried to fit in with the Asian market. It is quite dated (uses data from 1994) but it is still relevant. It would be great to see a follow up study on this topic. The Japan part was particularly interesting.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Shawn Buckle

    Using MacDonalds as the the globalizing entity, Watson and co. look at the way the restaurant has been adopted and adapted in varying ways by Eastern nations. It's an amazing cultural study that, at least to this reader, shows that globalization doesn't export a standard, rigid cultural product, but that products goes through a series of altering and readjusting to suit the specific area. Using MacDonalds as the the globalizing entity, Watson and co. look at the way the restaurant has been adopted and adapted in varying ways by Eastern nations. It's an amazing cultural study that, at least to this reader, shows that globalization doesn't export a standard, rigid cultural product, but that products goes through a series of altering and readjusting to suit the specific area.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Heather Lippe

    This book was required to read for a international business course. It was another easy read about how McDonald's moved into East Asia. It was interesting, but not something I would read over and over again. This book was required to read for a international business course. It was another easy read about how McDonald's moved into East Asia. It was interesting, but not something I would read over and over again.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Lyndi

    Surprisingly interesting. Though simple and commonplace in the U.S., McDonald's turns out to be something completely different in Asia; from aesthetics and menu, to social status and foreign relationships... find out how a fast food joint affects it all. Surprisingly interesting. Though simple and commonplace in the U.S., McDonald's turns out to be something completely different in Asia; from aesthetics and menu, to social status and foreign relationships... find out how a fast food joint affects it all.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Becca

    An interesting exploration of the effects McDonald's has had in various East Asian countries. The essays on Beijing and Hong Kong are far more researched and interesting than Tapei, Japan and Seoul. Otherwise, an interesting ethnography. An interesting exploration of the effects McDonald's has had in various East Asian countries. The essays on Beijing and Hong Kong are far more researched and interesting than Tapei, Japan and Seoul. Otherwise, an interesting ethnography.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Nina

    Really informative, especially in trying to understand different forms of American influence on East Asia.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Randi

    I read this for my Intro to Anthropology class, it was so fascinating! Also made it possible for me to carry on intelligent conversations with people who'd been there... I read this for my Intro to Anthropology class, it was so fascinating! Also made it possible for me to carry on intelligent conversations with people who'd been there...

  17. 4 out of 5

    Kaitlin

    Golden arches east : McDonald's in East Asia by James L. Watson (1997) Golden arches east : McDonald's in East Asia by James L. Watson (1997)

  18. 4 out of 5

    Ida

    Read most of it. A very interesting reflection of American business strategy's influence on the rest of the poor saps with whom we share this world. Read most of it. A very interesting reflection of American business strategy's influence on the rest of the poor saps with whom we share this world.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Beth

    Interesting collection of essays on the cultural impact of McDonald's in a number of Asian countries. Interesting collection of essays on the cultural impact of McDonald's in a number of Asian countries.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Laura

    EASC 150 Fall 2005

  21. 5 out of 5

    Rui Ma

    A little bit outdated but generally right

  22. 4 out of 5

    Elisabeth Petty

    A interesting look at how McDonalds has become a global phenomenon. It talks about how the restaurant has tried to stay the same while also trying to fit into each culture.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Kiki Seong

    Great and thorough academia.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Rocher Guo

    Information is outdated and biased

  25. 5 out of 5

    Erica

  26. 5 out of 5

    Vanessa

  27. 4 out of 5

    Courtney Ernst

  28. 5 out of 5

    Yvette ReneƩ

  29. 5 out of 5

    Prabhuyadav

  30. 4 out of 5

    Michelle

  31. 5 out of 5

    Ruben

  32. 5 out of 5

    Erik

  33. 4 out of 5

    Aaron

  34. 4 out of 5

    Lisa

  35. 5 out of 5

    Alysia Troiano

  36. 5 out of 5

    Britt

  37. 4 out of 5

    katy

  38. 5 out of 5

    Ashley

  39. 5 out of 5

    Schaden

  40. 5 out of 5

    Paris Bouchard

  41. 5 out of 5

    Michael

  42. 5 out of 5

    Jaime

  43. 5 out of 5

    Emily

  44. 5 out of 5

    J

  45. 5 out of 5

    Shannon

  46. 4 out of 5

    Zane

  47. 4 out of 5

    Erin

  48. 4 out of 5

    R. Deschain 19

  49. 5 out of 5

    Comrade

  50. 5 out of 5

    Nikki Powers-Hudson

  51. 5 out of 5

    Cassie

  52. 4 out of 5

    Elise

  53. 4 out of 5

    Brian

  54. 4 out of 5

    Syanne

  55. 4 out of 5

    Larissa

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.