Interaction and Dynamics
the latter part of the 19th century, Victorian Protestant culture
emphasized the importance of hard work while at the same time ritualizing
the family dinner, the living
room parlor, and children’s bedtimes.
introduction of fast food and ultimately the commodification of food
decreased family interaction time. More
importantly, with the commodification of food and lack of the traditional
task, roles within the family are altered. (Many times more noticeable in
the mother’s role)
Impacts of Fast Food on Families/Family Time
time/communication between family members if not sitting at the dinner table
or congregated in a “familial” fashion.
The parents have a strong possibility of being unaware of their
children’s lives outside the home.
the social and familial bonds weaken.
of Tradition- Dr. Kearl mentioned how when families cook, they pass down
information from previous generations (recipes), but with the
commodification of food, these traditions fade and sometimes die.
Hochschild, author of The Second Shift, was observing a family and
she notes: “Mary Poppins is on the video machine, and has been all day.
Just now, Mary Poppins, the nanny, is announcing dinner to the
upper-middle class British Mr. And Mrs. Banks and their children, all primly
seated at the dinner table… Barbara Livingston (mother of the family)
returns home from work. Half an
hour later, her husband, John Livingston returns home from work and sits
down to chat. In a while, he
rises to drive the nanny home, saying to his wife, ‘On my way back should
I pick up some carry-out for dinner?’”
description: EAT OUT- Has respondent
done the following in the last seven days: Have a meal (breakfast, lunch,
dinner) at a restaurant (including fast food places and takeouts)?
EAT OUT– 80.5% of people surveyed ate
fast food, carry out, or at a restaurant for one or more meals in the
OUT / AGE- Ages 30-39 ate most fast food during
difference between eating fast food and not eating fast food was in ages
18-29. (Possibly because in high school/college where most of meals are
probably in the home or at the school cafeteria. Also, younger ages have
less money and are looking for the “cheapest price.”
males and females, ages 30-39 ate most fast food.
These ages are less likely to have a family with developed roles and
tasks (such as cooking/preparing meals). For
singles, couples, and beginning families it might be more convenient to simply
“grab a bite” together.
Married persons ate fast food/carry out most (due to kids?)
Those never married with no kids ate the most fast food.
Those with more than one kid ate a substantial amount more of fast
food than any other marital status.
This reinforces the simple solution of a quick meal, snack, or dinner to
keep the kids’ mouths closed, or rather, satisfied.
Families with above $25K income buy vast majority of fast food/carry out
in comparison to those with below $25K income level.
As the number of children in families increases, the difference in eating
fast food between the two income level families decreases. (With more kids, fast
food might be a faster and cheaper
solution. Also, lower-middle & lower-lower classes might contain less
educated people in terms of meal preparation creating a possible lack of desire
Family time is a term
that continues to be used in an uncritical fashion in the research literature.
In spite of dramatic changes in patterns of work, there has been little effort
made to understand the implications for the changing patterns of family time.
The theory of family time has several key dimensions.
First, it would appear that the standards and expectations for family
time are powerfully shaped by the Western ideals of family togetherness (meal
time a prime example), positive engagement, and child-centeredness.
In this regard, family time is a prescriptive term that upholds a set of
traditional family values that may not be easily realized in the face of
today’s work and family challenges. Fast food, carry-out, take out, and
ultimately the commodification of food has facilitated meal preparation time and
provided cheaper meals, but have also impacted family dynamics and not to
mention created a more unhealthy nation.
Bryant, W, Keith. An examination of parent-child shared time. Journal
of Marriage and the Family.
V.58 p. 227-37.
Hofferth, Sandra L. How American children spend their time. Journal
of Marriage and the Family.
V. 63 p. 295-308.
Price, Charlene C. Food Marketing: Food service Sales Reflect the
Prosperous, Time-possessed 1990’s. Food
Review V.23 p. 23-26.
Hochschild, Arlie and Anne Machung. The Second Shift. Arlie