1. Visit any local fast food outlet, a place where ‘fast’ is the operative word (e.g. Burger King, McDonald’s, Kentucky Fried Chicken, Wendy’s, etc). You do not have to buy anything! Make notes
on the workers there and their conditions of work. Ask yourself questions like: what kind of people (young or old, male or female, people of color) are working there?; and in what kind of jobs?
What can you observe regarding relations with bosses and co-workers? What are conditions of work like in terms of health, safety, cleanliness, intensity, repetition, work environment,
intellectual stimulation, supervision, control over one’s own workday, equipment used and knowledge and skill required? You may, of course, observe other work related issues.
Note that the data collection aspect of this assignment is through OBSERVATION ONLY. You are not supposed to interview anyone for this assignment. Interviewing, surveying, participant
observation, etc., are specialized and obtrusive forms of data collection which within the university training context require specific safeguards and permissions. If you are in any doubt about
what to do, please consult the instructor.
2. After your visit, read the ‘Introduction’ and ‘Chapter 5’ of ‘Making Fast Food’ by Ester Reiter (available on reserve). Your written assignment will assess the differences and similarities between
your observations and what Ester Reiter has to say about working at Burger King. To show that you are beginning to think about this subject sociologically, you should introduce, as
appropriate, some of the sociological concepts that are covered in chapters 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 of the course testbook, e.g., labour process, class, ‘race’/ethnicity, immigration status, labour
segmentation theory, human capital theory, non-standard employment, double day/second shift, Taylorism, labour market, gender, working poor, student labour market, internal labour market,
primary labour markets, etc. Your effective application of sociological concepts and ideas to real events/activities in the fast food restaurant you observed will demonstrate to the instructor
your grasp of the course material. YOU MUST CITE THE TEXTBOOK AS YOUR SOURCE AND NOT THE LECTURE MATERIAL (i.e. you are not supposed to cite from lecture slides and study guides. If
you do not comply with this instruction, you will receive a zero under “sociological analysis” (see “Evaluations” below).
3. Keep margins at one inch and number your pages. Cite and reference sources appropriately, using the ASA style guide (copies of the ASA style guide are available on the sociology and
anthropology website and on library reserve). Reiter’s book, the course textbook (Krahn, et al.), and other sources consulted for the assignment must be correctly cited and referenced
4. Always READ OVER your assignment as well as using Spellcheck. There are many errors that Spellcheck will not detect.
Observations: 8 points
Students must demonstrate to the instructor that an observation was conducted. to this end, they must be specific in their accounts.
Review of Reiter’s piece: 7 points
Students must show through their writing that they have a good grasp of the assigned chapters in Reiter’s book. They must show how Reiter’s observations compare with theirs.
Sociological analysis: 12 points
Students must employ issues, concepts and ideas covered in the assigned readings and the supplemental material to analyze what they observed.
Citation of sources and references: 3 points
The ASA writing style guide must be consulted. Sources of information should not only be cited; they must be cited appropriately. These sources include the course textbook and Reiter’s book.
!!! Please include a full reference for the ASA style guide you used to complete the assignment. A paper without this will lose 2 points (consult me if you need further clarification).
You should consult the librarian and the staff at the University Writing Centre for help with research and writing difficulties.
A penalty of 2 points per day (including weekends) will be applied to late papers. Example: the research paper worth 30 points would lose 2 of these if submitted one day late; 4 if submitted two
days late, etc. Late assignments due to medical or extenuating circumstances are to be delivered along with proper documentation.
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