The University of Iowa

The Myth of McDonaldization – Sept. 13

September 10th, 2010

What: The Myth of McDonaldization: Globalization and Culture Change in a Japanese Community
When: Monday, Sept. 13, 2010 at 4:00 p.m.
Where: 302 Schaeffer Hall, UI Campus
Presenter: Keith Brown, Professor of Anthropology, University of Pittsburgh

Introduction to the presentation:
Globalization is the movement of things, people and ideas around the world. It is not a particular outcome. When we use terms such as culture, modernization and globalization we tend to homogenize things, ignoring the diversity of communities that are experiencing globalization. During the forty-nine years that I have been studying the farmers, merchants and former samurai families of Mizusawa in Northeastern Japan, their creative and unique responses to the resources made available to them through the processes of globalization give ample evidence of the strength of their culture and their adaptability to a constantly and dramatically changing social, physical, and economic world. They make their decisions on what to do under these new conditions within the framework of a culture inherited from a rich historical past.

Changing patterns of cooperation in farming and the sharing of expensive machinery, car culture as farmers commute to their off-farm jobs and city folks drive to the box stores in the suburbs for their shopping, food consumption, and a relative diminishment of kinship and neighbourhood as the social world has expanded constitute some of the aspects of the new patterns of life in Mizusawa that will be the focus of this program. However, the idea that globalization, as expressed by the term the McDonalization of Society, is homogenizing the world, destroying local culture in Mizusawa, is a myth. The people of Mizusawa remain very much Japanese, pursuing the good and moral life as defined by them with their fundamental culture.

Contact: Dongwang Liu, 319-335-1305,