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My apologies for this outdated post, but I have been contacting Professor George Ritzer to ask some questions that I raised (please see below) ever since we read some pieces from his work on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?