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Fast Food and American Society

George Ritzer has written extensively on the McDonaldization of society. According to Schaefer, this concept refers to the "enormous influence of a well-known fast-food organization on modern-day culture and social life." Among some of the characteristics of fast food restaurants are a highly specialized division of labor, a hierarchy of authority, written rules and regulations that govern all procedures, and impersonality. What aspects of the social and work environment in a fast-food restaurant would be of particular interest to sociologists? Of the sociological theories discussed, which do you think is most helpful for understanding how the fast food industry works and its impact on American society?

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One aspect of the social and work environment in a fast food restaurant that would be of particular interest to sociologists, is the social hierarchy that develops within a fast food restaurant, independent of the established chain of command that has been implemented at a fast food restaurant organization. ...