Part 1

First read this summary on McDonalization: (Links to an external site.). Next, visit your local McDonalds. Observe and write about the following components of this restaurant: predictability, calculability, efficiency and control. Finally, identify another example of McDonaldization (other than McDonalds). Why is this a good example? )

The assignment should be at least one page long, double spaced. Make sure the blog is written in essay format with paragraphs and complete sentences.

Part 2

The Managed Heart: Commercialization of Human Feeling

Emotions: feelings are cultural meanings given to sensations

Study on airline stewardess that highlights the ways in which those who practice this occupation sell emotions (emotional labor) and are guided by feeling rules. Emotions as something that can be bought and sold. Particularly characteristic of jobs (e.g. service industry) held by women. Many people offer their emotions as part of the job and see it as a positive “skill” to have, but this study allows us to appreciate and understand the cost of doing emotional work

  • Emotional work: When work is more than just doing an activity, but being a certain way, a performance. Exchange of my “smile” for income
  • Emotional labor: Literal emotional work, requires one to induce or suppress feeling in order to sustain the outward countenance that produces the proper state of min din others, this kind of labor calls for a coordination of mind and feeling and it sometimes draws one a source of self that we honor as deep and integral to our individuality
  • -Managed emotions
  • Artificial emotions: conveyed as real and authentic in order to be considered genuine by the consumer, calculated as part of the service (fast, efficient with a smile)
  • Part of the environment: recorded music, soothing colors, drinks, and smiles (all meant to comfort and ease the passenger)
  • Part of the training: studied emotions in order to make customers respond in a certain way (commercialized logic, efficient and money-making)
  • -Cost of emotional labor
  • Alienation from our emotions or our feelings b/c they are no longer our own, but under the control of others to be bought and sold.
  • Estrangement: the choice to feel (what are real emotions, emotional high after working in service work or expending emotions at work, control over what we actually feel in order to reproduce the “environment”)
  • Exploited for profit without recompense


  1. Describe a job that involves emotional labor (you may write from personal experience).
  2. Go through the lecture and identify how that job incorporated emotional work, emotional labor, and managed emotions
  3. What do you believe is the cost of emotional labor?

Part 3

According to the textbook, “Race is a group of people who are believed to be a biological group sharing genetically transmitted traits that are defined as important.” Sociologists place an emphasis on the word “believed” and the fact that genetic differences are “defined as important” in determining racial groups. To learn why this is and to learn a critical perspective on race, check out this website: (Links to an external site.)

In particular check out the links within the website:… (Links to an external site.),… (Links to an external site.),… (Links to an external site.)

The last two links have multiple pages, make sure to click on the “next” button in the lower right hand corner.

After checking out the website, answer the following discussion questions:

1. What critical points does the website make about the use of race in connection to biology and to human differences?

2. The website uses this quotation from Robin D.G. Kelley, a historian, “Racism is not about how you look, it is about how people assign meaning to how you look.” Do you agree or disagree with this statement? Why or why not?

3. Is race a useful category in denoting human differences? If yes, why? If no, how would you change the way we talk about human differences?

Part 4

Lecture on the Family: what’s changed and how is change constructed?

1. Actual Changes in the Family

  • increase in child care
  • increase in divorce (since 1900)
  • increase in married age
  • Increase in cohabitation
  • Increase in homosexual families
  • Increase in premarital sex
  • Increase in dual-earner families (middle class families)
  • Decrease in family size
  • Increase in single parent homes
  1. Change That Has Been Constructed
  • Nostalgia for a safer, more placid family produces historical misrepresentations that create an alarmist interpretation of the current times
  • Violence has occurred in all times, but it has not been so visible/public as it is today (example of alarmist tendencies: the murder rate decline by 20% from 1990-1998, the number of murders covered in the news increased by 600%)
  • Poverty a result of low paying jobs rather than family structure (what causes what)
  • Family is constructed as better or worse than it was before given the social conditions regardless if statistically these claims cannot be backed up (examples: Fathers are more involved in their children’s life, and in general parents are more involved in their children’s life, even though both feel that they are not giving enough of their time to their children. 71% are very satisfied with their own family life, but believe that family life in the US at large is at risk)
  • The end of the family has been predicted since 1928 (yet 90-95% of all women by the time they are 54 get married), the difference is not that people are not getting married, but that they wait longer. The age that women get married is similar to that of 1900 (but when compared to the 1950s and 1960s looks extremely high). Mid-seventeenth England had even higher ages of marriage
  • Moral discourse has remained fixated on the family over that of economic, civic and political action (equivocating social problems with the family alone), examples of high divorce rate, unwed mothers, high teenage pregnancy, reliance on childcare, abortion and homosexuality (family values) are given as reasons for social problems over that of economics, politics or education
  • Two types of the Ideal Traditional family
  • Nuclear Family: where husbands were able to economically support their family with his income alone and wives took over domestic responsibilities, especially the emotional and moral responsibilities.
  • Nuclear families idealized marriages that lasted.
  • The nuclear family in the US in the 1920s and 1930s was a sign of moral disrepair, loss of community and kinship networks
  • Extended family networks (grandpa and grandma, cousins all living under one roof)
  • The extended family in the US has never been a majority
  • 20% is the highest recorded stats and occurred during the height of industrialization from 1850-1885, more children were needed in an industrialized era because of the significant increase in and need of child labor that lasted well into the early 1900s

The Anomaly of the 1950s Family

A Statistical Picture

  • Rates of divorce are half of what they are today
  • Child-centered society: Birthrate was extremely high (3-4 children, as opposed to 2-3 today)
  • Gross national product increased by 250% and the per capita income by 35%
  • Increase in single-family homeownership (62% of all families owned their own homes), 85% of new homes were built in the suburbs
  • 61% increase in salaried workers; 60% of all families were considered middle class
  • By 1960, 87% had TV and 75% owned a car, discretionary income doubled during the 1950s
  • Nuclear family “consumption:” household furnishing and appliances climbed 240%
  • For the first time in 100 years, age for marriage and motherhood fell, fertility increased, divorce rates declined, and women’s degree of educational parity with men dropped (all of which corresponds with a government that could afford to be generous with education benefits, housing loans, highway and sewer construction and job training) a context in which employment was steady.
  • Conclusions: Because the 1950s was an unusual decade, it is important to look at family changes from a more long distanced view point (e.g. divorce was on the incline prior to the 1950s, took a great drop in the 1950s, but then continued to increase soon after) Moreover, the economic picture of the 1950s was robust, the government was extremely generous with social programs to help families and employment was healthy allowing for single income families to succeed and making a “nuclear” family possible and successful.

The Nuclear Family

  • The extent to which the nuclear family was solidified and praised was particular to the 1950s, thereafter and before this was not the case
  • Family as a place of self-fulfillment, self-image and self-worth
  • Family as focal place of fun, recreation and became the symbol of the American dream

The Other 1950s Family

  • 25% of American families were poor, especially those above the age of 65
  • Minorities were by and large excluded from the American dream (experiencing extreme forms of discrimination and segregation)
  • Women in some cases were forced back into the home (lost their WWII job) Many women did not want to give up their wage, and were greatly unhappy in domestic life and those who did not take up responsibilities as wife and mother were extremely stigmatized. Likewise men were forced into breadwinning roles and professional ambition regardless of their personal preference, duty to marrying and to work
  • Culture of fear (communism, red scare)
  • Increase in family related violence and marital unhappiness (25%-33% of all families experienced violence or marital unhappiness)


1. Write down ideas that spring to mind when you think of a “traditional family.”

2. Respond to the following questions based on the textbook chapter on the Family:

a. Are the rules of descent in the US patrilineal, matrilineal, or bilateral

b. In your family (either your parents or your own marriage), are the rules of marriage exogamous or endogamous?

c. If you are married, who holds authority in your family the husband, the wife or is it egalitarian?

If you are not married, who holds authority in your family, the father, mother or is it egalitarian?

d. If you are married, does your family live near the husband’s family, the wife’s family, or neither?

If you are not married, did your family live near your father’s family, the mother’s family or neither?

e. Is your family a nuclear family or an extended family?

f. In your family (either your parents or your own marriage), did the parents put together the marriage or was it a matter of personal choice?

Make sure to fully develop your answer for each question. Use complete sentences.


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