Americanization and Anti-Americanism: The German Encounter with American Culture after 1945

Americanization and Anti-Americanism: The German Encounter with American Culture after 1945

Americanization and Anti-Americanism: The German Encounter with American Culture after 1945

Americanization and Anti-Americanism: The German Encounter with American Culture after 1945

Synopsis

The ongoing discussions about globalization, American hegemony and September 11 and its aftermath have moved the debate about the export of American culture and cultural anti-Americanism to center stage of world politics. At such a time, it is crucial to understand the process of culture transfer and its effects on local societies and their attitudes toward the United States. This volume presents Germany as a case study of the impact of American culture throughout a period characterized by a totalitarian system, two unusually destructive wars, massive ethnic cleansing, and economic disaster. Drawing on examples from history, culture studies, film, radio, and the arts, the authors explore the political and cultural parameters of Americanization and anti-Americanism, as reflected in the reception and rejection of American popular culture and, more generally, in European-American relations in the "American Century." Alexander Stephan is Professor of German, Ohio Eminent Scholar, and Senior Fellow of the Mershon Center for the Study of International Security and Public Policy at Ohio State University, where he directs a project on American culture and anti-Americanism in Europe and the world.

Excerpt

When it comes to cultural issues, the UnitD no longer automatically allies itself with the United States. In short, Europeans and Americans are receiving the message that, from now on, they should get used to living in different worlds.

Anti-American invective on one side of the Atlantic and Euro-bashing on the other set the tone of the times. In Europe, George W. Bush is depicted as a trigger-happy cowboy, or Rambo, who serves as the front man for a zealous group of right-wing ideologues and greedy corporations unconcerned about the public good. Terms such as US imperialism, unilateralism, and hegemony appear frequently in newspapers throughout Europe. Europeans worry that the United States, as the only remaining superpower, may see no further reason to abide by international treaties and the rules of bodies such as the UN and the International Court of Justice, which many Americans have disliked all along because of a perception that they infringe upon US sovereignty.

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