No matter what corner of the world, it is more than unlikely to walk up to an adoles-cent, mention the names Jennifer Lopez, Madonna, Eminem or Bruce Willis and be confronted with a questioning face of ignorance. Performers and actors such as these have become increasingly omnipresent in people's lives all around the globe. American popular culture with its above-mentioned icons and its lifestyle of fast food and consumer goods tends to be received by foreign societies in a variety of differing ways. Terms such as Americanization, Westernization and even globalization are only a few of many that have been employed to label the phenomenon of America's growing cultural dominance in the world. Decades of public discourse about this is-sue have shown that all these expressions are being used interchangeably by many. We will see below, however, that it is helpful and, in my view, even necessary to make correct use of the terminology in order to come to a thorough understanding and, finally, a critical evaluation of the problem to be discussed. Various nations have been complaining about a McDonaldization (yet another word for U.S. cultural power worldwide) of their domestic cultures. The present discussion tries to investigate whether American popular culture truly poses a threat to national and regional cul-tural traditions, values and tastes or whether America's popular commodities in fact bear the potential of cultural diversity in receiving cultures. In an attempt to come to a conclusion regarding this question we take a look at the American music business as well as American film and television shows... [continues]
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