Europeans Are Lovin'It? Coca Cola, McDonald's and the Responses to American Global Businesses in Italy and France, 1886-2015

Giulia Crisanti, Fordham University


In this dissertation, I address the question on whether, how and the extent to which present day globalization is persistently American. I do so through a comparative case study: examining the history of Coca Cola and McDonald’s – the most popular conveyors of a global America – in Italy and France. I argue that the analysis of Coca Cola and McDonald’s expansion unveils how the American character of globalization resides in the global spread not of American products and corporations, but of specific American business practices and systems of production and consumption. At the same time, the dissertation highlights how the Coca-colonization and McDonaldization of the world were to a large extent made possible by the inherently multilocal nature of the two companies, which enabled the gradual but increasing “glocalization” of their structures. Moreover, it is my conviction that, because of the growing glocalization of the world, the elaboration of any effective and real alternative to Coca Cola and McDonald’s glocal paradigm has been glocal itself. To prove this point, I have compared the activity of the two largest French and Italian movements born in reaction to McDonaldization: José Bové’s anti-globalization movement and Carlo Petrini’s Slow Food movement. My study moves therefore from the existing historiographical debate on Americanization-Coca-colonization and globalization-McDonaldization, to promote the adoption of a multilocal approach to the study of the relationship between these various processes. In doing so, I have combined elements of cultural and business history, relying on a variety of sources and archives. These include newspaper articles, cultural magazines and advertisements, the documentation on Coca Cola and McDonald’s held by French and Italian Chambers of Commerce, Coca Cola’s files at Emory University, but also the transcripts of French and Italian Parliamentary debates and a series of trade union archives.

Subject Area

History|European history|American history|Nutrition|Business administration|Economics|Food Science|Commerce-Business

Recommended Citation

Crisanti, Giulia, "Europeans Are Lovin'It? Coca Cola, McDonald's and the Responses to American Global Businesses in Italy and France, 1886-2015" (2021). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI28491812.