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Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser - Book Report/Review Example

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Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser

Schlosser includes historical analysis of fast food, its development and current state. He describes life and experience of such people as Carl Karcher, Ray Kros and Ronal McDonald. American Fast food promises desirable images and identities through consumption: "the leading American fast food chains and their bestselling menu items have become famous worldwide embedded in out popular culture" (121). Schlosser compares fast food with a commodity, thus fast food influences health and economic conditions of people, their life style and tastes. The author gives a special attention to McDonald's, its history and success issues. Schlosser describes modern consumer (fast food) culture and criticizes its impact on school populations and educational environment. He includes examples of s Coke's promotion event and segregation of a student who wears a Pepsi T-shirt. Also, he addresses such issues as immigrants' labor and poor working conditions which is a part of the meat packing industry. As the most important, Schlosser unveils terrible facts about unsanitary working conditions and rendering of dead animals for fast food industry. The last portion of the book is devoted to globalization and spread of fast food into national cultures. Schlosser criticizes penetration of fast food into Asian nations which has a great impact on obesity problems in China and Japan.
The most interesting is the comparison of fast food with "a commodity and metaphor". I agree with Schlosser that the identities become a moment of desire realized in commodified forms of signification while amusement became the goal of the 'goods' life. As globalization provided ever more goods and services, consumerism became the basis for its hegemony, notwithstanding that many workers could not buy the products they made for world markets. "The growing popularity of fast food is just one of the many cultural changes that have been brought about by globalization" (242). Globalization has produced unprecedented wealth both for established corporations that have become global and for new classes of entrepreneurs in computer-related fields, software, e-commerce, the leisure industries, financial investments and so on. But this vast new wealth is ever more unequally distributed. Another interesting idea is a link between fast food and modern capitalism. Capitalism required the domination of rational action over affectivity. The culture of emotional restraint associated with the fast food becomes dominant. Schlosser claims "In many respects, the fast food industry embodies the best and the worst of American capitalism at the start of the twentieth-first century- its coherent stream of new products and innovations" (245). The mass-produced is now an essential feature of consumerism and global fast food. When capitalism moved into its consumer phase, however, it becomes necessary to temper the restraints upon indulgence necessary in the early stages of capitalism. Thus fast food turned to a commodity. The main weakness of these arguments is lack of statistical data and comparison between the nations. Schlosser provides a detailed analysis of social causes of fast food culture often omitted by other researchers. It is possible to say that the arguments are objective and accurate based on historical data and current ...Show more

Summary

In the book 'Fast Food Nation", Eric Schlosser proposes unique interpretation of fast food culture and its impact on global consumer culture. The author underlines that fast food becomes a powerful force which changes political and cultural relations between nations and states…
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