From an American Dream to a Global Dream

Twyman-Ghoshal, Anamika ORCID: 0000-0003-4076-6687 and Rousseau, Danielle (2010) From an American Dream to a Global Dream. In: Studies in Contemporary International Relations and Politics. Budrich UniPress, pp. 76-92.

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"If, as I have said, the things already listed were all we had to contribute, America would have made no distinctive and unique gift to mankind. But there has been also the American dream, that dream of a land in which life should be better and richer and fuller for every man, with opportunity for each according to his ability or achievement." 1 The above is the general definition of the concept of the ‘American Dream’ which appears in a 1931 history book authored by James Truslow Adams. Although the concept dates back to earlier times, this proves to be the most quoted definition. The above description of the American Dream manages to capture the ubiquitous notion of the existence of an opportunity of success for all. Over time the idea of the American Dream has spread around the world. Most are familiar with the American Dream as a promise for people in poverty stricken nations, one offering escape in the hopes of a better future. However, in this chapter we argue that there has been another propagation of the American Dream, namely an adoption of this concept internationally characterized specifically by a hope to achieve and succeed, irrespective of geography. We have called this translation of the American Dream a Global Dream. In this chapter, we attempt to briefly analyze the effect of the adoption of the American Dream especially through the 20th century phenomenon of globalization. We first trace the development of the American Dream, explaining how this intrinsically virtuous idea has not had the desired effect but has instead been construed in an unexpected and deleterious way. We next look at how it has been exported and implemented around the world through media and the global market. In our analysis we have utilized a popular criminological theory, strain/anomie theory. Anomie was an idea introduced by Emile Durkheim, and developed in light of American sociology by Robert King Merton and expanded on by later theorists. This theory is then combined with the phenomenon of globalization, as found in discussions by Nikos Passas in his conception of a Global Anomie Theory. The conclusion attempts to make some policy recommendations based on a universal deference for human rights, a respect for differences and good governance. Overall, such recommendations represent an attempt to reflect the core values of the American Dream, as contrasted with the subsequent development of a more materially and gain focused conception.

Item Type: Book Section
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare. Criminology. > HV6001 Criminology
J Political Science > JZ International relations
Divisions: Schools and Research Institutes > School of Business, Computing and Social Sciences
Research Priority Areas: Society and Learning
Depositing User: Anamika Twyman Ghoshal
Date Deposited: 04 Nov 2022 12:57
Last Modified: 31 Aug 2023 08:25

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