Jared’s Ethnography Ideas

One of the central themes of our study abroad program is ethnography. By conducting fieldwork for seven weeks, it will hopefully allow us to progressively discover new aspects of Chinese society and reflect on the different roles they play within China. Although I have several ideas, one specific subject really caught my eye; the influence of American corporations in China.



During my last semester I took Chinese Popular Culture, where we read an article about fast food chains and their development within China in the late 1980’s. As a result of the Chinese economic opening in the early 1980’s, capitalism was allowed to flourish to a certain extent, creating an inflow of American companies, goods, and culture into China. This was a blatant reversal in ideology from the strict era of the Cultural Revolution, and evidently one of the most influential changes in policy China hasĀ institutedĀ in the past century.



I wanted to research the atmosphere of several American multinational corporations such as Mcdonalds, Starbucks, etc., and really see what type of impact this makes upon the typical Chinese who frequent these restaurants – and how they perceive the restaurants themselves. Do they feel as if they’re getting a taste of American culture? Or has Chinese society sort of altered these American restaurants to reflect a more Chinese atmosphere? I have no idea, so that’s what I’m hoping to figure out!