Read Golden Arches East: McDonald's in East Asia by James L. Watson Online


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 questMcDonald'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....

Title : Golden Arches East: McDonald's in East Asia
Author :
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ISBN : 9780804732079
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 280 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Golden Arches East: McDonald's in East Asia Reviews

  • Vonia
    2018-08-31 21:11

    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....

  • Minli
    2018-09-09 00:26

    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.

  • Gabriel
    2018-09-11 22:18

    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.

  • Brandon
    2018-09-09 23:18

    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.

  • J.B. Shearman
    2018-09-17 21:22

    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.

  • Betsy McGee
    2018-09-16 20:33

    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.

  • Mila
    2018-08-24 22:12

    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.

  • Shawn Buckle
    2018-09-20 19:37

    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.

  • Heather Lippe
    2018-09-18 00:35

    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.

  • Lyndi
    2018-09-16 22:12

    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.

  • Becca
    2018-08-27 03:30

    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.

  • Nina
    2018-09-04 21:19

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

  • Randi
    2018-08-30 21:40

    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...

  • Kaitlin
    2018-09-13 22:13

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

  • Ida
    2018-08-23 03:14

    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.

  • Laura
    2018-09-10 19:10

    EASC 150 Fall 2005

  • Rui Ma
    2018-08-27 02:33

    A little bit outdated but generally right

  • Elisabeth P.
    2018-09-02 19:14

    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.

  • Kiki Seong
    2018-09-14 01:30

    Great and thorough academia.

  • Rocher Guo
    2018-09-01 02:30

    Information is outdated and biased