Americanism and Americanization

A Critical History of Domestic and Global Influence


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About the Book

With the current state of foreign affairs, the terms “Americanism” and “Americanization” sometimes take on an unexpected—and an unflattering—connotation. Americanism essentially involves values, beliefs, ideals, goods and practices in local settings outside the United States that are in some way related or attributed to American influence. While the validity of this influence may be under scrutiny, it requires a detailed historical—and sometimes cultural—analysis to understand all the dynamics and implications of Americanization. A variety of factors contributes to this influence, including the preoccupation and reception of the relevant culture itself. For instance, many European countries have at times demonstrated a preoccupation with all things American which was not necessarily swayed by any action of America itself. The overall actualization of Americanization, however, encompasses a number of societal dimensions, including power differentials in the exchange processes concerned.
Informed by a history of relevant developments since the early nineteenth century, this volume presents an in-depth critical analysis of the Americanization process. Beginning with a survey of early European preoccupations with things American, the book goes on to discuss European concerns regarding American influence after World War II. The work then looks at Americanism and its influence within the United States itself, especially regarding developments during the New Deal and beyond. The primary goal of the analysis is the construction of an interpretative framework, allowing for a more balanced approach to the study of Americanism abroad. Written from a critical, social-emancipatory perspective, the author’s approach blends economic, military, social, political, cultural and psychological dimensions as well as an examination of the ways in which these areas interact. Finally, Americanism is examined as part of a U.S.-style corporate globalization at the current juncture.
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About the Author(s)

Mel van Elteren is an emeritus associate professor of social sciences at Tilburg University in the Netherlands. He has published several books and articles in sociology, social psychology and cultural studies, with special interest in American society, politics and labor.

Bibliographic Details

Mel van Elteren
Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 259
Bibliographic Info: notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2006
pISBN: 978-0-7864-2785-7
eISBN: 978-1-4766-2128-9
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments      vi

Introduction      1

1. Early European Preoccupations with Americanism and Americanization      7

2. European Concerns about American Influence After World War II      30

3. U.S. Engagements with Americanism and Americanization Until the Early 1930s      50

4. Relevant Developments During the New Deal and Beyond      75

5. Mapping the Field of Americanization Systematically      101

6. Toward a More Balanced Approach to Studying Americanization Abroad      125

7. An Interpretive Framework for Further Analysis      145

8. Conceptualizing the Reception of Things American      162

9. Americanization as U.S.-Style Corporate Globalization      179

Notes      211

Bibliography      225

Index      241

Book Reviews & Awards

“essential…highly recommended”—Choice.