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June 25, 2014

Fast Food Nation: A Book Review

12:59 PM

Fast Food Nation is written by Eric Schlosser. It is the book which gives, as the US subtitle suggests, the dark side of the American meal. Although some other writers have already explored this topic but Schlosser account is very thorough and up to date.
            Conflict theory of macrosociological perspective says that societies experience perpetual struggle due to the unequal distribution of the things people value. Values such as industry, thrift and obedience are imposed upon the masses through mass media, culture and other transmitters of values and ideas. This book has been written with conflict theory of macrosociological perspective. 

            How do these cultural orientation influences the way we perceive, evaluate, and present ourselves in relation to others? From the 1950’s America’s youth as well as its culture took an entirely new turn. The prosperity, which came in the country after 1950, gave all the reasons to the youth to create new ways for spending that money; this had ignited their passion for entertainment and created a culture in which fast food played an important role (Schlosser, 2005).

            Media and especially the film media have great impact on society and it is actually the media, which shapes the culture of the society. It has been said that American culture was shaped in the present form by media.
      Electronic media are the third biggest exports of United States economy. This export has created a flood of American pop culture all over the world. Due to advertisements, American people are compelled to buy more. Advertising has played an important and pivotal role in the economy of a country in the information age. The desired outcome of advertising depends upon the intended audience. Audiences and objectives in relation to each audience are based on crash data and market research (Elkin, 2002). 
      In the present information age, traditional marketers expand the use of digital media for product promotion. Many of such marketing agencies are seeking specific information about which online advertising techniques have worked best. This has affected the spiritual values of the society and converted it into a materialistic society.  As long as vices dominate our lives, there can be no peace, no happiness. Thus I must say that media has played pivotal role in the popularity of fast foods in America.
            The question is, does life imitate art? Some times it seems that way. No one can ever prove that a specific fictional depiction was the primary cause of a specific act of violence. There are always other possibilities. With control, comes artificiality and doubts have been expressed about whether what is found in the lab will also occur in the real world.

Inequality of Gender
Many researchers have observed that the economic growth during the initial stages of development creates a gap between men and women. While the initial stage of development creates a gap between genders, other consequences of these changes lead to the reversal of these trends. The exclusion of women from wage activities eventually results in tight labor markets and rising demands of female workers, while the growing dependence of household on money generates greater pressure for women to become employed. Policy makers eventually become more likely to intervene in promoting greater access of women to education and training. So women seek to acquire greater bargaining power within their families (Levy & Murnane, 1992). Rapid developments are more likely to be accompanied by greater gender rigidity in countries with a tradition of patriarchal institutional arrangements. 
The rising demand of women in labor market has compelled women to go out for work; this not only provides the labor to the fast food chains but also make families of working women to rely more on fast foods, which ultimately increased the popularity of fast foods.              

Schlosser has presented very thorough and up to date information in this book. Although many of the cases are already known to the people but still it’s a good effort to put them all in a single book. The main question is does this book affect the eating habits of America? I, personally, seriously doubt it. Fast food eating habits is now in the roots of our culture and most of the new sociological concepts of current American Nation is based on this fast food culture. But I must say that Schlosser effort is worthwhile.


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