Golden Arches East: McDonald's in East Asia
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Golden Arches East: McDonald's in East Asia

3.59 of 5 stars 3.59  ·  rating details  ·  188 ratings  ·  18 reviews
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...more
Paperback, 280 pages
Published January 1st 1998 by Stanford University Press (first published December 1st 1997)
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Jul 26, 2011 Minli rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people interested in foodways, modernity, east asia and globalization
Recommended to Minli by: former anthro professor
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...more
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.
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The only downside to this book is that it is somewhat out of date.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...more
J.B. Shearman
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.
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.
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.
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.
Nov 18, 2009 Lyndi rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those interested in foreign society, people and Sociology in general
Recommended to Lyndi by: Mr Andrus - Sociology Professor
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.
Jan 23, 2010 Becca rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommended to Becca by: Anya
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.
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.
Elisabeth P.
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.
Sep 05, 2010 Randi added it
Shelves: for-the-mind
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...
Really informative, especially in trying to understand different forms of American influence on East Asia.
I am so glad I read this before I left for China. It explained so much. Great book!
Golden arches east : McDonald's in East Asia by James L. Watson (1997)
Rui Ma
A little bit outdated but generally right
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.
Paige marked it as to-read
Aug 12, 2014
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