Fast Cars/Fast Foods: Hyperconsumption and its Health and Environmental Consequences

Abstract

The historical and structural connections between auto-centered transport and fast food franchising are analyzed as comprising a synergistic contemporary mode of consumption. It is a mode that is rooted in individualized, private convenience, and it is implicated in a number of growing public health and environmental problems, including obesity and climate change. Emerging in the US after World War I, this mode of consumption, ‘fast cars/fast foods,’ developed rapidly after World War II, based on the application of mass production techniques to food, and in the development of the Interstate highway system. The analysis suggests that this mode of consumption is associated with a particular socio-material landscape, motorized urban sprawl, and that both promote hyperconsumption.

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Acknowledgements

George Martin acknowledges support from the Centre for Environmental Strategy, University of Surrey, Guildford, and the Department of Sociology, University of California, Santa Cruz.

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Correspondence to Peter Freund.

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Freund, P., Martin, G. Fast Cars/Fast Foods: Hyperconsumption and its Health and Environmental Consequences. Soc Theory Health 6, 309–322 (2008). https://doi.org/10.1057/sth.2008.10

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Keywords

  • hyperconsumption
  • mode of consumption
  • consumption practices
  • unhealthy environments
  • social ecology of risk
  • social organization of space