Individual Presentation or Panel Title

Barbeque Restaurants and Public Schools: The Common School Visions of Orestes Brownson and Horace Mann

Abstract

The great American barbecue belt that arcs through the south encompasses a half dozen cuts of meat, a seemingly infinite number of secret sauces, and a singular, contrarian economic vision. Alone in the food service industry and rare among social institutions in general, the barbecue restaurant has remained outside the rising tide of the hyper-industrialized, economies of scale paradigm. Thus barbecue restaurants do not share two similarities that exist between the general food service industry and public schools in regard to the economies of scale model. First, both the food service industry and public schools experienced a significant shift toward economies of scale in the 1960’s and early 1970’s—the food service industry in the form of mass franchising and public schools through an emphasis on school consolidation. Second, the rationales for food industry franchising and public school consolidation were similar: 1) increased opportunities for the local population; 2) more efficient, cost effective operation; 3) quality assurance through increased control of processes. That the barbecue restaurant rarely participated in this rationale yet has thrived to the point of reaching foodie cult status as an example of locavorism hints at a rationale for revisiting the Horace Mann/Orestes Brownson debate regarding the best administrative structure for the common school. The proposed paper examines parallels between the economic models of the food service industry and public schools and the way barbecue restaurants can offer an alternative organizational vision for schools, a vision more in line with Brownson’s rather than Mann’s notion of the common school.

Presentation Description

Alone in the food service industry and rare among social institutions in general, the barbecue restaurant has remained outside the rising tide of the hyper-industrialized, economies of scale paradigm. Thus barbecue restaurants do not share two similarities that exist between the general food service industry and public schools in regard to the economies of scale mode

Keywords

School Consolidation, Economies of Scale, Brownson, Mann

Publication Type and Release Option

Presentation (Open Access)

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Jun 9th, 11:00 AM Jun 9th, 12:15 PM

Barbeque Restaurants and Public Schools: The Common School Visions of Orestes Brownson and Horace Mann

The great American barbecue belt that arcs through the south encompasses a half dozen cuts of meat, a seemingly infinite number of secret sauces, and a singular, contrarian economic vision. Alone in the food service industry and rare among social institutions in general, the barbecue restaurant has remained outside the rising tide of the hyper-industrialized, economies of scale paradigm. Thus barbecue restaurants do not share two similarities that exist between the general food service industry and public schools in regard to the economies of scale model. First, both the food service industry and public schools experienced a significant shift toward economies of scale in the 1960’s and early 1970’s—the food service industry in the form of mass franchising and public schools through an emphasis on school consolidation. Second, the rationales for food industry franchising and public school consolidation were similar: 1) increased opportunities for the local population; 2) more efficient, cost effective operation; 3) quality assurance through increased control of processes. That the barbecue restaurant rarely participated in this rationale yet has thrived to the point of reaching foodie cult status as an example of locavorism hints at a rationale for revisiting the Horace Mann/Orestes Brownson debate regarding the best administrative structure for the common school. The proposed paper examines parallels between the economic models of the food service industry and public schools and the way barbecue restaurants can offer an alternative organizational vision for schools, a vision more in line with Brownson’s rather than Mann’s notion of the common school.