Do you agree or disagree with the following statement: 'McDonald's stands for American cultural imperialism'? Support your argument with relevant statistics about the company, and balance your answer by considering McDonalds from the point of view of the
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Do you agree or disagree with the following statement: 'McDonald's stands for American cultural imperialism'? Support your argument with relevant statistics about the company, and balance your answer by considering McDonalds from the point of view of the company, its customers, and the countries/communities in which the restaurants are found. Consideration of the facts, statistics and the phenomenal growth of McDonalds- with a product that is closely associated with American culture- makes McDonalds a form of representation of 'American cultural imperialism' on rest of the world. The essay considers different perspectives about the issue; for example, McDonalds as a global organisation, its justification for the charges made by social activist and consumer's perception of the company image. The essay also integrates the consideration of adverse influences of McDonalds on different culture or nations, the economic implication for countries or communities in which it operates and mixed reactions of consumers to the American cultural imperialism that is reflected through McDonalds. Due to the controversies and complex nature in constituent terms of the concept 'Cultural imperialism', most attempts to define it end up creating abstract complexities in the name of definition (Tomlinson, 1991; Barnett, 1997). However in order to understand American cultural imperialism through McDonalds it is important to define cultural imperialism. Schiller, (1976) defined cultural imperialism as "Sum of the process by which a society is brought into a modern world system and how its dominating stratum is attracted, pressured, forced and sometimes even bribed into shaping social institutions to correspond to or even promote, the values and structures of the dominating centre of the system." (Tomlinson,1991:9) .It is worth noting that in the context of cultural imperialism Watson, (1997) has taken 'culture' to mean as popular music, television, film, video, pulp, fiction, comic, advertisement, fashion, home design, and mass produced food. John Tomlinson, (1991) argues that the word 'imperialism' has a connotation of some a form of domination linking it to empire, that's why cultural imperialism in 'third world' points to the link between present cultural domination and colonial past.
Klein, (2000) too believes that the attack from the global companies on the 'choices' people make regarding consumption happens on different fronts for example locally, with few super brands that use their capital power to wipe away small and independent businesses, and legally Consumer companies like McDonalds using Libel & trademark suits to hound anyone who brings unwanted twist on a pop culture product (Klein, 2000). McDonalds have influenced the way of life of a significant portion of the world. Fast food that is provided in McDonalds is the form of American culture that the consumers globally literally consume. By copying American eating habits of fast foods (McDonalds), people from all over the world have started to look like obese fast food loving Americans (Schlosser, 2002). Kellner, (1999) takes the argument against McDonalds by stating that McDonalds encourage such a type of food that is closely associated with risk of cancer and heart disease but also actively promoting same culture where at presence of such diseases are not considered as a problem (McLibel Support Campaign, 1994). The growth of McDonald since 1997 in Japan has accelerated the shift in Japanese eating habits. The sale of fast food industry doubled in 1980 which resulted in the doubled rate of obesity in children in Japan (Schlosser, 2002). In a similar way eating large quantities of meat has substantial negative effect on health and McDonalds have sold more than 100 Billion hamburgers (Spencer et al, 2005). Eric Schlosser (2001) referred to a study conducted by Wootan et al in 2006, in which they observed that at McDonalds the nutrition information at point of decision making was often difficult to find or completely absent. Samuelson R., J., 1989, argues that there are people who refer McDonalds as a mixture of all that is Vulgar in American culture (cited in Ritzer, 1996). Emerald Group Publishing limited (2007) has published that even though McDonalds is trying to create the company image as an ethical company promoting diversity, concern for the
In conclusion, due to its phenomenal growth, McDonalds does represent American cultural imperialism. The domination of American culture in the rest of the world has helped McDonalds Corporation in its tremendous growth and consequently McDonalds has strengthened the power of American culture in the world. It shows that the relationship between American cultural domination and the growth of McDonalds is positive. However from the company's point of view, McDonalds offers the 'world' the service that satisfies the consumer's needs with due consideration to ethical issues. And for consumers it is an affordable and convenient way of experiencing the 'modern living'. However anti-globalisation activists resist McDonalds for the adverse effects it has on native cultures and argue that the culture represented by McDonalds is inappropriate for the common masses. After considering different perspectives it can be concluded that McDonalds does represent American cultural imperialism but it can not essentially be seen as bad or good for the nations of the world. However, consideration should be given to the importance of native culture, the role it plays in people's life and the effect of American culture on developing countries where such American influence is not suitable. REFERENCES: Adams C., 2006, Reframing the Obesity Debate: McDonalds Role May Surprise You, Journal of Law Medicine and Ethics-Sidebar Commentary Industry Perspective. Vol 26. No.18. Barnett, T. 1997, State of the State and the Third Worlds, Beyond Cultural Imperialism Globalisation, Communication and the New International Order, Edited by Golding, P., Harris, P., pp.25-49. Boje M. D. and Carl Rhodes, 2006, The Leadership of Ronald McDonalds: Double Narration and Stylistic Lines of Transformation, The Leadership Quarterly Vol.17 pp. 94- 103. Campbell K., Douglas W. Vick, 2001, Public Protest, Lawsuits and the Market : The Investor Response to McLibel Case, Journal of Law and Society Vol. 28 No. 2 Chrisman, L., 2003, Empires culture in Fredric Jameson, Edward Said and Gayatri Spivak, Postcolonial Contraventions Cultural Readings of Race, Imperialism, and Transitionalism, Manchaster University Press. Constantino., R,1978 Neocolonial Identity and Counter Consciousness- Essay on Cultural Decolonisation Edited by Istvan Meszaros,Merlin Press London. Curtis, R. K, Mccluskey J.J., and Wahl I. T.
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