Interviews with Prof. George Ritzer

My apologies for this outdated post, but I have been contacting Professor George Ritzer to ask some questions that I raised (please see below) ever since we read some pieces from his work on the McDonaldization a couple of weeks ago.  As we missed a chance to do that on the right time and the semester is almost over and he is busy, plus some kind of technical difficulties (he wanted to do interview on the phone being recorded instead of emails), he’s kindly agreed with me to post a previous interview on the importance on the McDonaldization and its future from youtube instead. He talks about the Starbuckization, too. There are a couple of more too so please go ahead and check them out.

1. I understand that your main argument is neither about McDonald’s itself nor their food but really about our society that accepts McDonald’s and transforms into like McDonald’s in terms of four components (efficiency, calculability, predictability and control through the substitution of nonhuman for human technology). Since we read your book in Professor Simon’s class on food and history, I am curious of the significance of food in the prosperous success in McDonald’s? Why do you think it had to be the food industry to create this culturally and socially dominant phenomenon?

2. Related to the first question, what does food mean to you and your research? Do you think food is good to think with like Levi Strauss? Or more like a metaphor to represent the society? What is your attitude to food and food studies?

3. Although you are of course very much aware of the diversity of McDonalization all over the world, for instance the McDonalization in Japan or the situation in Malaysia or France could be discussed differently from the case in the US, as the way of marketing strategies by McDonald’s responds (or creates) very well to local consumers’ demands, referring to the political, economic and cultural settings or living standard in each country. If that’s the case, how you do consider differences from the expressions of Americanization or other metaphors as such Cocacolarization, Disnification or Starbucks dissemination?

4. You discuss the way in which McDonalization applies to the processes of production of human beings as well as aspect of dying. I happened to go to a lecture of Professor Eric Klinenberg on his new book, Living Solo: The Extraordinary Rise and Surprising Appeal of Living Alone the other day and I wonder the connections between your argument on control over birth and dying and Professor Klinenberg’s point on the adults’ rights of choice on living or aging to the last day. Do you have any thoughts on the control of the other stages of human’s life between birth and death?

5. As I have been working on the acceptance of the Japanese food culture in contemporary US, I am curious about your opinion on the global popularity of the Japanese food like California rolls invented in the US. In terms of authenticity, and geopolitical, ecological and social impacts to consumers, how do you see and interpret this phenomenon?


We could say that the ‘foodie’ interviewed here fulfills LeBan’s definition of  ‘foodie’ and the “Foodies” definition in general…

CFP: Food and Culture Conference

It kind of seems like this conference was invented for our class to dominate. Anyone want to get a panel together? I’ve always wanted to visit Pittsburgh.

What we choose to eat, when we eat it, with whom we eat it, and how we eat it is influenced by technology, economics, politics, fashion, tradition, religion, and other aspects of culture. Food not only answers our most basic physical needs, but also is central to social ritual and the construction of culture playing a vital symbolic role in forming societies.Proposals are welcome on all aspects of American and popular culture. To submit a proposal, please send a 300-word abstract and a brief CV or bio by June 15, 2012. Panels of 3 presenters, single papers, roundtables, or alternative formats are encouraged.

With 40 different areas of presentation, MAPACA seeks a diverse group of presenters across many disciplines and at all level of study including student, professional, and independent scholars. The annual conference will be November 1-3, 2012 at the Wyndam Grand in downtown Pittsburgh.


Jill Nussel, Ph.D.
Indiana-Purdue University Fort Wayne
2901 Coliseum Blvd.
Fort Wayne, IN 46805
Phone: 260-481-6686
Fax: 260-481-6985

Visit the website at

Obesity redux

I saw this story about the recent rash of “medical episodes” at the Heart Attack Grill in (of course) Las Vegas and had to post it.  The latest “victim” was eating a double-bypass burger, drinking a margarita, and, yup, smoking a cigarette!  BOOM! The trifecta!

Perhaps most interesting, if you watch the video at the bottom of the article, was the owner’s reference to the “end of days.” And, his white coat and stethoscope costume made me think that he was actually the doctor who admitted the lady to the emergency room.  Awesome!

it is spreading… to our cats.

Food as Fashion..

Food as Fashion..

Cool Whip and Condom Lubricant

Not sure where this fits in the larger scheme of the course (perhaps our greater alienation from what actually goes into our food?) but thought this was at least tangentially relevant.

Wired magazine: Cool Whip specifically look at Polysorbate 60. Delicious.

Are Food Deserts a Social Construction After All?

Just saw this NYTimes article which claims that food deserts don’t exist.  Perhaps they are a social construction after all?

I have some issues with methodology used in the article.  It seems to me that produce per square mile isn’t important if someone doesn’t have a car to drive to the produce.  I think more emphasis should be placed on produce per capita, accessibility, quality and price.  Nevertheless, the article raises some interesting points.

Las Vegas

As I started reading “Egg Men” I was reminded of another article about food in Las Vegas in the New Yorker (a trend perhaps?).  It’s from August 2010, “The Truffle Kid” by Dana Goodyear.  It’s about food importers and touches on many themes we’ve been discussing, such as authenticity, and others that we haven’t focused on quite as much, such as sustainability…think about the costs of getting all those foodstuffs (not only seafood, but “authentic” truffles, etc) to a desert wasteland.  And Goodyear includes a brief history of restaurant culture in Las Vegas, very interesting.

Two models of food writing?

Previously, I thought that most food writings could be placed within a continuum, which would have two extremes: on the one side, taste and gourmet experience; on the other side, critique of existing (structural) system.

Now, I’m thinking of another model, such as Oishinbo that I mentioned in the previous post.

What model do you prefer? Or, do you have other models of food writing? (please let me know)