McDonaldizationSociety

McDonaldizationSociety - VISIONS OF SOCIETY The...

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Unformatted text preview: VISIONS OF SOCIETY: The Bureaucratization of Society 42 The McDonaldization of Society GEORGE RITZER---- Ritzer uses the success of fast food chains as a metaphor for some general trends characterizing contemporary American society. We have become a nation driven by concernsfor rationality, speed, and 0ficiency that are so well illustrated by the McDonald's style of operation. Food, packaging, and service are designed to move quickly and cheaply through these restaurants, giving customers the most modern eating experience. Speed, convenience, and standardization have replaced the flair of design and creation in cooking, the comfort of relationships in serving, and the variety available in choice. McDonaldization has become so pervasive that one can travel to nearly any city or town in America and find familiar chain-style restaurants, shops, hotels, and other avenues for commercial exchange. This has fostered the homogenization of American culture and life, streamlined along a set of rational, 0ficient, and impersonal principles. Awide-ranging process of rationalization is occurring across American society and is having an increasingly powerful impact in many other parts of the world. It encompasses such disparate phenomena as fast-food restaurants, TV dinners, packaged tours, industrial robots, plea bargaining, and open-heart sur- gery on an assembly-line basis. As widespread and as important as these devel- opments are, it is clear that we have barely begun a process that promises even more extraordinary changes (e.g. genetic engineering) in the years to come. We can think of rationalization as a historical process and rationality as the end result of that development. As a historical process, rationalization has distinctive roots in the western world. Writing in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the great German sociologist Max Weber saw his society as the center of the ongoing process of rationalization and the bureaucracy as its paradigm case. The model of rationalization, at least in contemporary America, is no longer (he bureaucracy, but might be better thought of as the fast-food restaurant. As a SOURCE: The Mcdonaldization of Society, 100-107, by George Ritzer from The Journal of American Culture. Reprinted by permission of Blackwell Publishing. 405 406 PAR T V Social Change result, our concern here is with what might be termed the "McDonaldization of Society." While the fast-food restaurant is not the ultimate expression of ration- ality, it is the current exemplar for future developments in rationalization. A society characterized by rationality is one which emphasizes tfficiency, predictability, calculability, substitution of nonhuman for human technology, and control over uncertainty. In discussing the various dilTlensionsof rationalization, we will be little concerned with the gains already made, and yet to be realized, by greater rationalization. These advantages are widely discussed in schools and in the mass media. In fact, we are in danger of being seduced by the innumerablethe mass media....
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  • Spring '08
  • verginiahusting
  • BURGER KING, McDonaldization of Society, Fast food restaurant, McDonaldization, fast-food restaurant

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McDonaldizationSociety - VISIONS OF SOCIETY The...

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