Our entry into field research was a fairly convenient one; we simply spoke with our coworkers, bosses, customers, and included some of our own views. In order to gather evidence that could be utilized in our paper, we interviewed coworkers and observed them during the time they were working, as well as conducting a survey that was available to anyone in the United States. The population of our small, one stop light town is variable, which makes the employees of fast food restaurants extremely variable as well.
When walking down the street or through the aisles in the grocery store, one sees people hat are young and old, college students and dropouts, black and white, and everything inbetween. All of our research was conducted in small town Seymour, Wisconsin, our home and the home of two of the most prevalent fast food restaurants that entice the townspeople. If one has seen the movie Su persize me , they are certainly aware that fast food is not meant to be consumed on a daily basis. However, McDonald’s is not the only fast food corporation that has foods with unhealthy qualities.
Wendys, Subway and numerous others should also be put under scrutiny. All f these restaurants sell food that contains products that should not be found in food. Silicon dioxide, which can be found in quartz or sand, can also be found in the chili at Wendy’s. Subway, which is claimed to be the healthiest of all restaurants, fast food or not, does not include actual eggs in their egg sandwiches. Instead they use a concoction of eggs and “premium egg blend”. In this egg blend, one can find glycerin, dimethylpolysiloxane, and calcium silicate.
These chemicals can also be found in shaving cream, soap, silly putty, and the sealant used on roofs and concrete. Not only does fast food contain disturbing chemicals, it also contains sugars and fats that can potentially cause both short and long term problems. Depression, Osteoarthritis, and increased risk of infection are all associated with excess fat consumption. The excess consumption of fat can also lead to fatty plaques developing on the walls of blood vessels, the increased risk of heart attacks and strokes, nonalcoholic steatohepatitis, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and type two diabetes.
These facts are what lead us to the ultimate question; if people understand that fast food contains orrible chemicals and causes numerous diseases, why would they still eat it? In order to find the answer to our question, we created a survey and made it available to the entire United States population. The final question of the survey was “Does the fact that fast food is usually unhealthy bother you? Why or why not? ‘. With this question on the survey, we found many interesting answers that justified going to fast food restaurants. “l dont care how unhealthy it is, its delicious. ” “Life is too short to constantly worry about what you eat. “It is unhealthy, but sometimes you just don’t have the time to cook t home. ” These are some of the most popular justifications for eating at fast food restaurants, which is interesting to see. Fast food pulls people in because it is fast and easy. It takes about two minutes to go through a drive thru and a simple exchange of words and money, and the customer is once again on their way. It is also delicious in the eyes of some. Fast food restaurants have found the perfect balance of fats and sugars to make their food taste the best it possibly can, causing the population to crave it more than they would crave more healthy options.
It is also an incredible value. If one goes to McDonald’s and gets a burger for $1. 25, rather than making it at home, they could save double or triple that much. If one walks into Taco Bell, they know exactly what kind of food they could possibly buy. This is called predictability. The food at fast food restaurants always tastes the same, it is always the same type of food, it is easily predictable. All of the reasons individuals gave for buying, craving, and consuming fast food were both interesting and helpful, but what if it was not actually their decision to go to such restaurants?
What if society was deciding for them and they just hought they were making their own choice? The unhealthiness of the food served is not the only negative factor fast food plays on our society. We, as a society, have access to goods and services that our ancestors did not, and we can gain nearly instant access to them. Though this may seem as if it would be a positive factor in our daily lives, there are numerous possible dangers of such a situation. One possible danger would be Max Weber’s concept of the iron cage of rationality.
This concept states that the population will eventually expect everything in society to be McDonaldized, or sped up, costing them ess time. unfortunately, the population has already found itself caught inside of this cage. Now that the citizens of the United States of America have grown accustomed to receiving their food in less than two minutes after ordering, they expect everything to be done in a very short time, even if it is unreasonable. This is called McDonaldization. McDonaldization is Webers theory that fast food restaurants are coming to dominate more sectors of society and the world as a whole.
Another danger is that we, as a society, when facing the decision of quantity or quality, we tend to choose quantity. We no longer care about the quality of things, such as food, as long as it tastes good and Causes no immediate health problems. It makes no difference how unhealthy the food that we consume is, as long as it does not cost a large portion of our own time or money to produce. There are already numerous examples of this “McDonaldization” in our daily lives. If one walks into a Shopko or even the occasional Walmart, they can find a FastCare, or a walk in clinic.
One can simply walk into the clinic, see a doctor, get a prescription, if needed, and continue with their day in less than an hour. Even education has taken on qualities of McDonaldization. If one wishes, they may take their college, or even high school courses online. Students are able to complete their coursework whenever they wish, and when they are in need of assistance from a professor, they can simply send an email and can receive an answer back within hours. At first fast food seemed innocently convenient, but it has slowly taken over and influenced every aspect of our daily lives.
The social construction of reality, according to the book ‘The Social Construction of Reality, written by Peter L. Berger and Thomas Luckmann, is efined as “persons and groups interacting in a social system create, over time, concepts or mental representations of each other’s actions, and these concepts eventually become habituated into reciprocal roles played by the actors in relation to each other. When these roles are made available to other members of society to enter into and play out, the reciprocal interactions are said to be institutionalized. In the process of this institutionalization, meaning is embedded in society.
Knowledge and people’s conception (and belief) Of what reality is becomes embedded in the institutional fabric of society. Reality is therefore said to be socially constructed. ” An example of the social construction of reality being applied to fast food would be everyone knowing that it is unhealthy, but nobody is looked down on for eating it. It is perfectly acceptable in our society to consume food that we know is not good for us. But why is this? Ever since fast food restaurants have been opening, the population has slowly allowed them to become a big part of their lives.
Each generation has shown the next that as a part of the American population, they must be willing to consume fast food. We as a society have knowingly or unknowingly made fast food a art of our constructed reality, a part of our culture. Now that they have been included into oor reality, fast food restaurants will not soon leave. The social construction of reality is not the only theory that can be applied in some way to fast food. Karl Marx’s theory of social structure says that the patterned social arrangements in society are both emergent from and determinant of the actions of the individuals.
This means that the social class one is included in determines who they interact with, what they do in their free time, how they behave, and numerous other factors in their daily lives. It eems as if this theory could not be applicable to fast food, however, one is simply required to think critically about it. A person who is a part of the top social class, a billionaire, would not simply walk into a fast food restaurant and order a burger, they would much rather eat at a sit down restaurant or have an employee prepare their meal for them.
However, a person in a much lower social class, such as the lowest or one of the middle classes, would love to go to a restaurant and order a burger and fries because for them, it tastes delicious, and it is a great value for the money that they are spending. If they were to make their own burger at home it would cost double, even perhaps triple the amount that they would pay at a McDonald’s restaurant. The burger that is ordered would most likely not be of the same quality as a home made one, but money is the main focus.
A billionaire would care solely about the quality of the food he or she is consuming, because for the higher social classes, money is not a problem they have to worry about. The final theory that could explain why the American citizens choose to eat fast food even though they are aware that it is unhealthy is the social learning theory. Social learning is a cognitive process that takes place in a social context and can occur purely through observation or direct instruction. It is a process that everyone goes through as a child.
They watch their parents’ actions closely and mirror what they accomplish. This is Includes how the parents react to certain behaviors, how they treat others, and even what they eat. This could be partly the cause of our society’ being a fast food dominated world. In the past decades, children have grown up watching commercials on the televisions Of cartoon characters telling them to eat at Culver’s, Arbys, and Dairy Queen. When driving to school they see the billboards advertising the restaurants in their town. Most importantly, they have seen their parents go through the drive thru numerous times.
Their parents have told them to walk to a local fast food restaurant in between school and sports practice for a snack. It is the parents who have shown their children that fast food is an acceptable resource to utilize, no matter how often. It is affordable, which is all that matters. However, the parents are not to blame. They too grew up watching their parents eat fast food, they too were shown that is was acceptable to consume fast food. If ociety wishes to make a change, it must work for the change. It must undo decades of social learning in order to stop the fast food frenzy that has taken over our nation.
After thoroughly reviewing each theory and how they can be connected to fast food, it is easy to see similarities between the three. Included in each theory is the fact that we have learned from the generations before us that even though fast food is unhealthy, it is still fine for us to eat it. This social construction of our reality was formed by our parents and grandparents. Just like us, their parents led them by example, showing them through their own ctions that fast food is an acceptable form of breakfast, lunch, snack, or dinner.
The social learning theory is one that is easiest to see why we have learned our ways from our elders. The social learning theory is one that states that children learn how to act and what to do in social contexts through observing their parents or following the directions that their parents give to them. By observing their parent or having their parents direct them, children have grown up accepting fast food as a part of their lives. The third theory is the social structure theory. This theory is one that is most difficult for one to nderstand the connection to the other theories, however, it still shares similarities.
This theory explains the difference in social classes, and in this paper, it was used to explain that while some social classes may not choose to dine at a fast food restaurant, others may be pleased to have the opportunity to. Those whose families have been a part of the highest social classes for generations have learned from those before them that fast food is not of high enough quality and is therefore not worth their time or their money. However, those whose families have been in the middle or lower lasses have learned from their families that fast food is an incredible thing.
Although we worked hard on our project and put in an incredible amount of effort, there are numerous improvements that could be made. If a future student were to do their research project on fast food, there are many things they could do in order to put forth a better product. They could possibly interview more people and add the information they provide to the fourth paragraph Of our paper. Another suggestion for future researchers is to dig deeper into the theories we used, or to find other theories that apply to such topic.
Though we thoroughly explained how each theory relates to the topic of fast food, there is still much research to be conducted for each one. To better understand this social phenomena, it would also be advisable for one to research additional theories. For our project, we focused solely on three possible theories to explain this phenomena, however, there are still countless others that could relate to our chosen topic. Researching such theories and fully explaining and applying them would help tremendously with not only ongs personal gain of knowledge, but also, most likely, their grade as well.
Not only are the citizens of the United States of America, but also the citizens of various countries around the world, are addicted to the love-hate relationship with fast food. It is common knowledge that eating fast food is not healthy, however, millions, even billions, of people eat it. Though there are countless ways consuming food of this quality affects the health of such individuals, there is not much concern. This could be easily explained away claiming that fast food is consumed simply because of the low price or lack of effort that one is needed to put forth in order to obtain it.
Even though this ay be true, there are other sociological reasons for such an instance to occur. Three theories can be applied to this phenomena; the social construction of reality theory, the social structure theory, and the social learning theory. Each of these theories not only aid in explaining the cause of this behavior, they also share one thing in common. Each of these three theories all state that we may have adopted the ways of using fast food as a go-to from our parents or grandparents. Although the ways of todays society may have been learned, it is still our own responsibility to force each other to nlearn them.