Fast Food, Fast Track: Immigrants, Big Business, And The American Dream

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Westview Press, Sep 9, 2009 - Social Science - 240 pages
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Hailing from China, the Caribbean, Latin America, and India, a colorful sea of faces has taken its place behind one of the most ubiquitous American business institutions – the fast-food counter. They have become a vital link between the growing service sector in our cities’ ethnic enclaves and the multi-billion dollar global fast-food industry. For four years, sociologist Jennifer Parker Talwar went behind the counter herself and listened to immigrant fast-food workers in New York City’s ethnic communities. They talked about balancing their low-paying jobs and monotonous daily reality with keeping the faith that these very jobs could be the first step on the path to the American Dream. In this original and compelling work of ethnography, Talwar shows that contrary to those arguing that the fast-food industry only represents an increasing homogenization of the American workforce, fast-food chains in immigrant communities must and do adapt to their surroundings.
 

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Fast food, fast track: immigrants, big business, and the American dream

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With the publication in 1993 of sociologist George Ritzer's The McDonaldization of Society, the word "McDonaldization" became part of our vocabulary, usually used to describe prolific spread and mind ... Read full review

Contents

1 Searching for the American Dream
1
Race Place and the Importance of Culture
17
Qualifications Recruitment and the Path to a Fast Food Job
53
Flexibility and Work Time
69
Technologies and Divisions of Labor
81
Managing the Fast Food Personality
97
Ethnic Conflicts and Interactions
119
A Question of Mobility
147
9 Flipping Burgers in a Melting Pot? Looking Ahead to a More Multicultural Society
183
Notes
195
The Respondents
215
Index
219
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About the author (2009)

Talwar is an assistant professor of sociology at Penn State.

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