How 'American' is Globlization?

Johns Hopkins University Press, 2006


"A provocative treatise about the nature of modern life ... appealing because of its breadth ofdetail, drawing on the author's two decades in Japan, Spain, France, Austria, and Mexico."

- Prof. Eric Fisher, Cal Poly - San Luis Obispo, in The (Cleveland) Plain Dealer


"... intriguing analysis of the influence of American technology and culture on foreign societies... . In his deconstruction of the myth of global Americanization [Marling] argues that in actuality the reaching effects of the U.S. are less than one might think from reading popular accounts - and he backs his contention with proof. "

Diane C. Donovan, California Bookwatch .


"William Marling's provocative work analyzes—in specific terms—the impacts of American technology and culture on foreign societies. Marling answers his own question—how "American" is globalization?—with two seemingly contradictory answers: "less than you think" and "more than you know." Deconstructing the myth of global Americanization, he argues that despite the typically American belief that the United States dominates foreign countries, the practical effects of "Americanization" amount to less than one might suppose.

Critics point to the uneven popularity of McDonalds as a prime example of globalization and supposed American hegemony in the world. But Marling shows, in a series of case studies, that local cultures are intrinsically resilient and that local languages, eating habits, land use, education systems, and other social patterns determine the extent to which American culture is imported and adapted to native needs. He argues that globalization can actually accentuate local cultures, which often put their own imprint on what they import—from translating films and television into hundreds of languages to changing the menu at a McDonalds to include the Japanese favorite Chicken Tastuta.

Marling also examines the unexpected ways in which American technology travels abroad: the technological transferability of the ATM, the practice of franchising, and "shop-floor" American innovations like shipping containers, bar codes, and computers. These technologies convey American attitudes about work, leisure, convenience, credit, and travel, but as Marling shows, they take root overseas in ways that are anything but "American."

- Bookwatch


"In a first-rate book about a topic of major importance, Marling challenges the conventional wisdom about how the world is becoming 'Americanized.' Extraordinarily impressive."

- Prof. Richard Pells, University of Texas

"If you were engaged by Thomas Friedman's The Earth is Flat, you will enjoy How 'American' Is Globalization?"

- Cleveland Plain Dealer

"Intriguing analysis of the influence of American technology and culture on foreign societies."

- Midwest Book Review

"A provocatively offbeat and intermittently persuasive entry in the Americanization debate."

-Future Survey


Reviews of The American Roman Noir, Raymond Chandler, Dashiell Hammett, and William Carlos Williams and the Painters.


Marling's Academic Websites

Noir Detective Novels

The go-to source for information on the American crime and detective novel from 1920 to 1980, featuring biography, plot summary, and analysis, from the Black Mask writers through Kem Nunn Mosely and Sue Grafton. Nominated for an ACA Award in 2012.

Visual Sources of American Modernism

Written with graduate students, this prize-winning site features papers that link Loy, Faulkner, Stein et al to visual inspirations from film to cubism to the "Fifth Dimension." - coming soon: photos from Japan (sumo, archery, kenka matsuri, India, China, Indonesia, Jordan, Lebanon, and Syria), and France. Historic photos of Peru, Italy, Spain, and Ohio.

Marling's On-line Scholarship

The Formal Ideologeme

James M. Cain's 'Tyger Woman'

The Style of The Maltese Falcon

Paul Auster and the American Romantics

The Parable of the Prodigal Son

The Parable ( en Francais)

Metanymic Sources of the American Detective Novel

Mobile Phones as Narrative Tropes

The Vague Aches of Interns

Publics, Counter-publics and Film Noir Now

Corridor to Clarifty: Sight and Sensuality in William Carlos Williams' poems

The Dynamics of Vision in William Carlos Williams and Charles Sheeler

Globalisms - Real and Imaginary