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The Past, the Present and the Future of McDonaldization
Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer(PRINT) National Bestsellernbsp; A bank of clouds was assembling on the not-so-distant horizon, but journalist-mountaineer Jon Krakauer, standing on the summit of Mt. Everest, saw nothing that "suggested that a murderous storm was bearing down." He was wrong. The storm, which claimed five lives and left countless more--including Krakauer's--in guilt-ridden disarray, would also provide the impetus for Into Thin Air, Krakauer's epic account of the May 1996 disaster. By writing Into Thin Air, Krakauer may have hoped to exorcise some of his own demons and lay to rest some of the painful questions that still surround the event. He takes great pains to provide a balanced picture of the people and events he witnessed and gives due credit to the tireless and dedicated Sherpas. He also avoids blasting easy targets such as Sandy Pittman, the wealthy socialite who brought an espresso maker along on the expedition. Krakauer's highly personal inquiry into the catastrophe provides a great deal of insight into what went wrong. But for Krakauer himself, further interviews and investigations only lead him to the conclusion that his perceived failures were directly responsible for a fellow climber's death. Clearly, Krakauer remains haunted by the disaster, and although he relates a number of incidents in which he acted selflessly and even heroically, he seems unable to view those instances objectively. In the end, despite his evenhanded and even generous assessment of others' actions, he reserves a full measure of vitriol for himself. This updated trade paperback edition of Into Thin Air includes an extensive new postscript that sheds fascinating light on the acrimonious debate that flared between Krakauer and Everest guide Anatoli Boukreev in the wake of the tragedy.nbsp;nbsp;"I have no doubt that Boukreev's intentions were good on summit day," writes Krakauer in the postscript, dated August 1999. "What disturbs me, though, was Boukreev's refusal to acknowledge the possibility that he made even a single poor decision. Never did he indicate that perhaps it wasn't the best choice to climb without gas or go down ahead of his clients." As usual, Krakauer supports his points with dogged research and a good dose of humility. But rather than continue the heated discourse that has raged since Into Thin Air's denouncement of guide Boukreev, Krakauer's tone is conciliatory; he points most of his criticism at G. Weston De Walt, who coauthored The Climb, Boukreev's version of events. And in a touching conclusion, Krakauer recounts his last conversation with the late Boukreev, in which the two weathered climbers agreed to disagree about certain points. Krakauer had great hopes to patch things up with Boukreev, but the Russian later died in an avalanche on another Himalayan peak, Annapurna I. In 1999, Krakauer received an Academy Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters--a prestigious prize intended "to honor writers of exceptional accomplishment."nbsp;nbsp;According to the Academy's citation, "Krakauer combines the tenacity and courage of the finest tradition of investigative journalism with the stylish subtlety and profound insight of the born writer.nbsp;nbsp;His account of an ascent of Mount Everest has led to a general reevaluation of climbing and of the commercialization of what was once a romantic, solitary sport; while his account of the life and death of Christopher McCandless, who died of starvation after challenging the Alaskan wilderness, delves even more deeply and disturbingly into the fascination of nature and the devastating effects of its lure on a young and curious mind."
Call Number: GV199.44.E85K725 1999 (Kent)
Publication Date: 1999-10-19
The Death and Life of Main Street by Miles OrvellFor more than a century, the term "Main Street" has conjured up nostalgic images of American small-town life. Representations exist all around us, from fiction and film to the architecture of shopping malls and Disneyland. All the while, the nation has become increasingly diverse, exposing tensions within this ideal. In The Death and Life of Main Street, Miles Orvell wrestles with the mythic allure of the small town in all its forms, illustrating how Americans continue to reinscribe these images on real places in order to forge consensus about inclusion and civic identity, especially in times of crisis. Orvell underscores the fact that Main Street was never what it seemed; it has always been much more complex than it appears, as he shows in his discussions of figures like Sinclair Lewis, Willa Cather, Frank Capra, Thornton Wilder, Margaret Bourke-White, and Walker Evans. He argues that translating the overly tidy cultural metaphor into real spaces--as has been done in recent decades, especially in the new urbanist planned communities of Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk and Andres Duany--actually diminishes the communitarian ideals at the center of this nostalgic construct. Orvell investigates the way these tensions play out in a variety of cultural realms and explores the rise of literary and artistic traditions that deliberately challenge the tropes and assumptions of small-town ideology and life.
Call Number: eBook
Publication Date: 2012-10-01
Resisting Mcdonaldization by Barry Smart (Editor)George Ritzer′s McDonaldization thesis argued that contemporary life is succumbing to the standardization, flexibility and practicability of fast-food service. This book brings together specially commissioned papers by leading social and cultural analysts to engage in a critical appraisal of the thesis. The contributors discuss the roots of the thesis, the rationalization of late modern life, the effects of increasing cultural commodification, the continuing prominence of American cultural and economic imperialism and the impact of globalization on social and cultural life. The strengths and weaknesses of the McDonaldization thesis are clearly evaluated and the irrational consequences of rationalization are pinpointed and critically developed. The book enlarges our understanding of how everyday life is structured by new standards of bureaucratic control and performance-related criteria and plays a major role in illuminating how identity and practice are structured today. The volume concludes with a response from George Ritzer.
Call Number: eBook
Publication Date: 1999-06-22
Small Towns and Big Business by Stephen HalebskyDuring the 1990s, a new type of controversy began occurring across the United States: controversies over the siting of superstores, also known as big box stores. In these disputes, which often involve Wal-Mart, the world's biggest retailer, local citizens mount organized opposition to the proposed siting of a superstore in their town or neighborhood. Opponents criticize Wal-Mart superstores for putting local independent merchants out of business, siphoning money from the local economy, providing substandard jobs, disrupting residential neighborhoods, contributing to the 'McDonaldization' of society, inducing sprawl, destroying downtowns and Main Streets, and undermining local uniqueness and small town charm. More generally, these David-and-Goliath controversies represent particularly stark examples of the conflict of interests between local communities and large corporations that have become common in contemporary society. Small Towns and Big Business uses fieldwork and archival sources to comprehensively examine these controversies and the underlying issues. While Wal-Mart is usually able to site its stores at its preferred locations, in some cases local opponents have been able to thwart its plans. Using detailed case studies of anti-superstore controversies in six small cities in five states, Halebsky employs a comparative-historical approach to construct an explanation of how some of these local social movements managed to prevail against Wal-Mart. This explanation is then extended to provide the basis for a model of the general conditions under which local communities may be able to constrain unwanted corporate action. Thus, this is both a study of social movement outcomes and an investigation of community-corporate conflict. Small Towns and Big Business provides insight into the potential of the local state to control large corporations, the inherently problematic nature of corporate retailing, the possibilities for resisting McDonaldization, and the fate of local anti-corporation activism.
Call Number: eBook
Publication Date: 2008-12-01
Capital, Class, and Technology in Contemporary American Culture by Nick HeffernanIn the tradition of Mike Davis and Fredric Jameson, Nick Heffernan engages in a series of meditations on capital, class and technology in contemporary America. He turns to the stories we generate and tell ourselves - via fiction, film journalism, theory - to see how change is registered. By investigating a variety of texts, he observes how structural change affects the way people organise their lives economically, socially and culturally. Case studies include Ridley Scott's Blade Runner, William Gibson's cyberspace trilogy, Thomas Pynchon's The Crying of Lot 49, and Wim Wenders's Until the End of the World.Using the links between narrative cultural forms and the process of historical understanding, he brings together debates that have so far been conducted largely within the separate domains of political economy, social theory and cultural criticism to provide a compelling analysis of contemporary cultural change. By relocating postmodernism in the context of changing modes of capitalism, Heffernan puts the question of class and class agency back at the centre of the critical agenda.
Call Number: eBook
Publication Date: 2000-01-01
Mindless by Simon HeadWe live in the age of Computer Business Systems (CBSs)--the highly complex, computer-intensive management programs on which large organizations increasingly rely. In Mindless, Simon Head argues that these systems have come to trump human expertise, dictating the goals and strategies of a wide array of businesses, and de-skilling the jobs of middle class workers in the process. CBSs are especially dysfunctional, Head argues, when they apply their disembodied expertise to transactions between humans, as in health care, education, customer relations, and human resources management. And yet there are industries with more human approaches, as Head illustrates with specific examples, whose lead we must follow and extend to the mainstream American economy. Mindless illustrates the shortcomings of CBS, providing an in-depth and disturbing look at how human dignity is slipping as we become cogs on a white collar assembly line.
Publication Date: 2014-02-11
Bureaucracy Fiction Books
Catch-22 by Joseph Heller(PRINT) Catch-22 is like no other novel we have ever read. It has its own style, its own rationale, its own extraordinary character. It moves back and forth from hilarity to horror. It is outrageously funny and strangely affecting. It is totally original. It is set in the closing months of World War II, in an American bomber squadron on a small island off Italy. Its hero is a bombardier named Yossarian, who is frantic and furious because thousands of people he hasn't even met keep trying to kill him. (He has decided to live forever even if he has to die in the attempt.) His problem is Colonel Cathcart, who keeps raising the number of missions the men have to fly. The others range from Lieutenant Milo Minderbinder, a dedicated entrepreneur (he bombs his own airfield when the Germans make him a reasonable offer: cost plus 6%), to the dead man in Yossarian's tent; from Major Major Major, whose tragedy is that he resembles Henry Fonda, to Nately's whore's kid sister; from Lieutenant Scheisskopf (he loves a parade) to Major -- de Coverley, whose face is so forbidding no one has ever dared ask him his first name; from Clevinger, who is lost in the clouds, to the soldier in white, who lies encased in bandages from head to toe and may not even be there at all; from Dori Duz, who does, to the wounded gunner Snowden, who lies dying in the tail of Yossarian's plane and at last reveals his terrifying secret. Catch-22 is a microcosm of the twentieth-century world as it might look to someone dangerously sane. It is a novel that lives and moves and grows with astonishing power and vitality. It is, we believe, one of the strongest creations of the mid-century.
Call Number: PS3558.E476C3 1994 (Deerwood)
Publication Date: 1994-10-01
1984 by George Orwell(PRINT) Portrays a terrifying vision of life in the future when a totalitarian government, considered a Negative Utopia, watches over all citizens and directs all activities, becoming more powerful as time goes by.
The Castle by Franz Kafka; Anthea Bell (Translator); Ritchie Robertson (Editor)'K. kept feeling that he had lost himself, or was further away in a strange land than anyone had ever been before'A remote village covered almost permanently in snow and dominated by a castle and its staff of dictatorial, sexually predatory bureaucrats - this is the setting for Kafka's story about a man seeking both acceptance in the village and access to the castle. Kafka breaks new ground in evoking a densevillage community fraught with tensions, and recounting an often poignant, occasionally farcical love-affair. He also explores the relation between the individual and power, and asks why the villagers so readily submit to an authority which may exist only in their collective imagination.Published only after Kafka's death, The Castle appeared in the same decade as modernist masterpieces by Eliot, Joyce, Woolf, Mann and Proust, and is among the central works of modern literature. This translation follows the text established by critical scholarship, and manuscript variants arementioned in the notes. The introduction provides guidance to the text without reducing the reader's own freedom to make sense of this fascinatingly enigmatic novel.
Call Number: eBook
Publication Date: 2009-07-26
Efficiency and Calculability
Predictability and Control
Celebration by Michael Lassell(PRINT) Celebration, Florida, is perhaps the most successful planned community in the country, having recently won a coveted Florida state civic award. What many people don't know is that Walt Disney's original concept for what later became Epcot at Walt Disney World was exactly what Celebration is today-a thriving town where people live, work, go to school, attend to their health-care needs, shop, dine out, bank, and have myriad recreational opportunities. The richly illustrated Celebration: The Story of a Town explores the history of planned communities in America; the original concepts for Celebration complete with input from architects, social historians, and perhaps most important, local residents; and the ups and downs of this unique community as it establishes itself as one of Florida's most desired addresses.
Call Number: F319.C44L37 2004 (South)
Publication Date: 2004-10-18
Dead End by Benjamin Ross(PRINT) More than five decades have passed since Jane Jacobs wrote her classic The Death and Life of Great American Cities, and since a front page headline in the New York Times read, "Cars Choking Cities as 'Urban Sprawl' Takes Over." Yet sprawl persists, and not by mistake. It happens for a reason. As an activist and a scholar, Benjamin Ross is uniquely placed to diagnose why this is so. Dead End traces how the ideal of a safe, green, orderly retreat where hardworking members of the middle class could raise their children away from the city mutated into the McMansion and strip mall-ridden suburbs of today. Ross finds that sprawl is much more than bad architecture and sloppy planning. Its roots are historical, sociological, and economic. He uses these insights to lay out a practical strategy for change, honed by his experience leading the largest grass-roots mass transit advocacy organization in the United States. The problems of smart growth, sustainability, transportation, and affordable housing, he argues, are intertwined and must be solved as a whole. The two keys to creating better places to live are expansion of rail transit and a more genuinely democratic oversight of land use. Dead End is, ultimately, about the places where we live our lives. Both an engaging history of suburbia and an invaluable guide for today's urbanist, it will serve as a primer for anyone interested in how Americans actually live.
Call Number: HT352.U6R67 2014 (Nassau, South)
Publication Date: 2014-05-02
The Disneyization of Society by Alan E. Bryman`Alan Bryman has expanded on his internationally well-known work on Disney theme parks and Disneyization to create a fascinating and highly readable book. It should prove of interest to beginning students in a number of different courses and fields, as well as to scholars interested in culture and consumption. There is no question that the model created by Disney, and emulated in whole or in part by many organizations and in many settings, will continue to influence social structure and culture well into the future. This is an important book about a significant social process. And, it manages to be a fun read, as well!′ - George Ritzer, author of McDonaldization and Professor of Sociology, University of Maryland `Bryman′s analysis of contemporay consumption is full of detail and provides a host of examples ranging from restaurants and hotels, to theme parks, zoos and sports stadia. Without doubt students will find it an accessible text, one that should allow them to think about consumption, familiar consumer products, settings and activities, sociologically′ - Barry Smart, Professor of Sociology, University of Portsmouth `Bryman′s dissection of Disneyization is a timely and significant contribution to the growing literature on Disney. In fact, his excellent analysis of the extension of Disneyization throughout society explains why we should care about the Disney phenomenon at all. This is not only an important book for Disney scholars, but for any one interested in the future of modern society′ - Janet Wasko Professor of Communication Studies, University of Oregon This is an agenda-setting new work in the sociology of culture and modern society. It argues that the contemporary world is increasingly converging towards the characteristics of the Disney theme parks. This process of convergence is revealed in: the growing influence of themed environments in settings like restaurants, shops, hotels, tourism and zoos; the growing trend towards social environments that are driven by combinations of forms of consumption: shopping, eating out, gambling, visiting the cinema, watching sports; the growth in cachet awarded to brands based on licensed merchandise; and the increased prominence of work that is a performance in which the employees have to display certain emotions and generally convey impressions as though working in a theatrical event. This insightful book demonstrates the importance of control and surveillance in consumer culture. Of interest to a wide variety of students studying in business, sociology, cultural studies, media studies and leisure studies courses this will also be of interest to anybody interested in understanding the intricacies of modern society.
Call Number: eBook
Publication Date: 2004-06-09
The Irrationality of Rationality
Freakonomics by Steven D. Levitt; Stephen J. Dubner(PRINT) Which is more dangerous, a gun or a swimming pool? What do schoolteachers and sumo wrestlers have in common? Why do drug dealers still live with their moms? How much do parents really matter? How did the legalization of abortion affect the rate of violent crime? These may not sound like typical questions for an economist to ask. But Steven D. Levitt is not a typical economist. He is a much-heralded scholar who studies the riddles of everyday life--from cheating and crime to sports and child-rearing--and whose conclusions turn conventional wisdom on its head. Freakonomics is a groundbreaking collaboration between Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner, an award-winning author and journalist. They usually begin with a mountain of data and a simple question. Some of these questions concern life-and-death issues; others have an admittedly freakish quality. Thus the new field of study contained in this book: Freakonomics. Through forceful storytelling and wry insight, Levitt and Dubner show that economics is, at root, the study of incentives--how people get what they want, or need, especially when other people want or need the same thing. In Freakonomics, they explore the hidden side of . . . well, everything. The inner workings of a crack gang. The truth about real-estate agents. The myths of campaign finance. The telltale marks of a cheating schoolteacher. The secrets of the Ku Klux Klan. What unites all these stories is a belief that the modern world, despite a great deal of complexity and downright deceit, is not impenetrable, is not unknowable, and--if the right questions are asked--is even more intriguing than we think. All it takes is a new way of looking. Freakonomics establishes this unconventional premise: If morality represents how we would like the world to work, then economics represents how it actually does work. It is true that readers of this book will be armed with enough riddles and stories to last a thousand cocktail parties. But Freakonomics can provide more than that. It will literally redefine the way we view the modern world.
Don't Eat This Book by Morgan Spurlock(PRINT) The literary debut of the funniest and most incisive new voice to come along since Michael Moore-and the acclaimed director of the film phenomenon of the year. Can man live on fast food alone? Morgan Spurlock tried to do just that. For thirty days, he ate nothing but three "squares" a day from McDonald's as part of an investigation into the effects of fast food on American health. The resulting documentary won him resounding applause and a worldwide release that broke box-office records. Audiences were captivated by Spurlock's experiment, during which he gained twenty-five pounds, his blood pressure skyrocketed, and his libido all but disappeared. But this story goes far beyond Spurlock's good-humored "Mc-Sickness." He traveled across the country-into schools, hospitals, and people's homes -to investigate school lunch programs, the marketing of fast food, and the declining emphasis on health and physical education. He looks at why fast food is so tasty, cheap, and ultimately seductive, and what Americans can do to turn the rising tide of obesity, hypertension, and diabetes that have accompanied its ever-growing popularity. He interviewed experts in twenty U.S. cities-from surgeon generals and kids to lawmakers and marketing gurus-who share their research, opinions, and "gut feelings" on our ever-expanding girth and what we can all do to offset a health crisis of supersized proportions. In this groundbreaking, hilarious book, "benevolent muckraker" Morgan Spurlock debuts a wry investigative voice that will appeal to anyone interested in the health of our country, our children, and ourselves.
Call Number: TX370.S68 2005 (Deerwood, Downtown)
Publication Date: 2005-05-19
Predictably Irrational by Dan Ariely(PRINT) "A marvelous book... thought provoking and highly entertaining." --Jerome Groopman, New York Times bestselling author of How Doctors Think "Ariely not only gives us a great read; he also makes us much wiser." --George Akerlof, 2001 Nobel Laureate in Economics "Revolutionary." --New York Times Book Review Why do our headaches persist after we take a one-cent aspirin but disappear when we take a fifty-cent aspirin? Why do we splurge on a lavish meal but cut coupons to save twenty-five cents on a can of soup? When it comes to making decisions in our lives, we think we're making smart, rational choices. But are we? In this newly revised and expanded edition of the groundbreaking New York Times bestseller, Dan Ariely refutes the common assumption that we behave in fundamentally rational ways. From drinking coffee to losing weight, from buying a car to choosing a romantic partner, we consistently overpay, underestimate, and procrastinate. Yet these misguided behaviors are neither random nor senseless. They're systematic and predictable--making us predictably irrational.
Call Number: BF448.A75 2010 (South)
Publication Date: 2010-04-27
The Dehumanization of the Holocaust
Social Theory after the Holocaust by Robert Fine (Editor); Charles Turner (Editor)This collection of essays explores the character and quality of the Holocaust's impact and the abiding legacy it has left for social theory. The premise which informs the contributions is that, ten years after its publication, Zygmunt Bauman's claim that social theory has either failed to address the Holocaust or protected itself from its implications remains true.
Call Number: eBook
Publication Date: 2000-11-01
Rethinking the Holocaust by Yehuda Bauer(PRINT) "Yehuda Bauer, one of the world's premier historians of the Holocaust, here presents an insightful overview and reconsideration of its history and meaning. Drawing on research he and other historians have done in recent years, he offers fresh opinions on such basic issues as how to define and explain the Holocaust; whether it can be compared with other genocides; how Jews reacted to the murder campaign against them; and what the connection is between the Holocaust and the establishment of Israel."--BOOK JACKET.Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved