Sociologist explores McChina

Sociologist Lynn Guenette will be presenting "The McDonaldization of China: The Effects of Globalization on the Chinese Economy/Culture" at 11 a.m. March 24 at Rochester Community and Technical College's Hill Theatre.

The presentation will be based on Guenette's experience exploring the culture and history of China through a Fulbright-Hays scholarship program she participated in last summer.

Sixteen educators from across the U.S. were required to do a curriculum project and hers was on the globalization of China.

Not only have McDonald's restaurants popped up all over that country, but China has also begun to apply the concepts of the fast food industry — efficiency and predictability — to other parts of its culture.

"I'm not just picking on McDonald's, but it was the biggest and the first," Guenette said.


She said China is rapidly Westernizing.

"In this country, we've been at it for more than 50 years, but in China it is a very recent introduction."

The first McDonald's was built in Beijing's Tiananmen Square in 1992.

"On the first day of business, they served 40,000 people, with 700 seats and 29 cash registers in the restaurant," Guenette said. In 2008, the country had more than 2,000 of the restaurants.

Kentucky Fried Chicken is another popular fast-food restaurant in China, and many Western corporation can now be found in the big cities, Guenette said.

"Before the cultural revolution, Chinese businessmen had been exploring scientific management," Guenette said. "However, she it was forced underground during the Mao (Zedong) years. It's now re-emerged."

She said "McDonaldization" is everywhere — hotels, skyscrapers, freeway and cars.

"They've gone from bicycles to cars in a very short time," Guenette said.


She is choosing to share her experience because she believes Americans don't understand how quickly China is changing.

"I think we need to educate ourselves about China in general," Guenette said.

She feels that Americans have never quite understood the Chinese, but she feels like she better understands them after being there.

"They are in economic competition with us and we need to try to understand where they are coming from," Guenette said.

She plans to speak about the topic for about a half hour, show a few photos from her trip and then take questions.

The Faculty Lecture Series gives faculty members at RCTC and Winona State University the opportunity to teach others about their scholarly activity and present information that would not necessarily be presented in the classroom.

There are six presentations each year, three in the fall semester and three in the spring semester.

If anyone would like a brochure or to be put on an e-mail list, they can contact Ruth Casper at 280-3146 or


The lectures are free and open to the public and are followed by a small reception.

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