A term that is mostly used in a negative sense by arrogant intellectuals of various stripes. Due to the fact that the United States of America is currently perceived to be the most powerful nation on earth many imitate and like American culture. Yes I know, many critics say America has no culture and go on to complain that Americans should be called USAians or some such nonsense.

It is true that the US does not have the centuries of colorful tyrants, madmen, and general death to give things a great aura of important history. My opinion is that despite this America has a culture that is just as fine as any in Europe. Those that complain about the horrors of Americanization and globalization perhaps should examine where their culture came from. How much of any nation’s culture results from things being passed back and forth between nations? Like the eagle that is the symbol of so many nations and started off as a Roman standard.

Also culture is not something that is fixed in time. I think that many are mourning more the fact that things change more than the influence of America. The US just becomes a convenient target because it is a big one and there are other issues people have with it.

In the USA we welcome ideas from other nations* and adopt them as part of our own. They mix and are altered and improved in more than a few cases. Cannot other nations do the same?

* Though I must admit foreign ideas are not universally accepted. The US is not perfect (and I do not mean to imply that we are); we have trouble with anti-foreign movements too. Though they seem to be more directed against immigration than culture here. Whereas in Europe there seems to be a very violent reaction against foreigners by small extremeist groups and additionally a more generalized hate or annoyance with anything not seen as part of native culture.

A short note on Americanization from an Irish point of view:

I appreciate Michalak's point that many people are mourning the actual change of culture more than the specific americanization of it, but it is also important to remember that while cultures do change, one must retain some form of individual culture specific to one's nation. The problem with americanization as we see it here is not that it is changing our culture alone, but that it is smothering the culture of a large part of the world, from Hollywood movies and Friends changing our conception of how to socially interact, to American megacorporations influencing tastes and economies (and in the case of fast-food giants like McDonald's and Coca-Cola, the diets and health of entire continents).
People who oppose americanization and globalisation are usually opposed to this unification of cultures, and the subsequent loss of national identity, rather than the effect it is having on their country alone.

Conversely, Americanization can be seen as a beneficial change; for example the recent/on-going 'liberation' of Iraq (I am not here to argue for or against this war, it is said and done and a convenient example so I shall reference it). Were it not for the power of Americanization, Iraq would still be in the hands of Saddam Hussein, and so it can be argued that the subsequent introduction of democracy to Iraq was a benifical cultural change.
There are also many people throughout the world who welcome americanization, finding it an exciting prospect to have a cultural change in their own 'back-yard', and who enjoy the products that the corporations bring them.

Americanization, given the power and influence of America in the present day, is an unavoidable fact of life. Television, shopping centres/malls and politics are streaming into our homes and affecting our personal lives on a constant basis, slowly influencing cultures all over the world, for better or worse.

Go about your daily business, and if you are against americanization; don't buy coke.

A*mer`i*can*i*za"tion (#), n.

The process of Americanizing.

 

© Webster 1913.

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