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The McDonaldization of Society

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The McDonaldization of Society The McDonaldization of society may sound somewhat misleading but the term actually refers to the rationalization of society. The use of the word "McDonaldization" just simply indicates that the fast food restaurant is one of many great examples of rationality. Ritzer discusses five dimensions that characterize rationality or a rationalized society: efficiency, predictability, calculability, the use and preference of non-human technology, and the control over uncertainty. The five characteristics can be noticed in various aspects of society which exemplifies the extent that rationality affects our society and societies worldwide. In this paper I will summarize Ritzer's discussion of these five characteristics and give possible examples of each dimension. First, efficiency refers to the most efficient or best means to an end. Ritzer uses the fast food restaurant as an example of the best means to obtain a meal, instead of actually preparing food at home. Individuals no longer have to go out to the supermarket, buy food and bring it home, prepare it over a hot stove, and let's not forget the tedious task of hand-washing the dishes. ...read more.


Discipline, routine, and systemization are just a few things that ensure predictability. This summer I volunteered to canvass for environmental organizations. Canvassing refers to the process of going door-to-door to raise money for some cause. People who canvass are trained to do the exact same routine with each neighborhood they visit. Speeches, gestures, and even the tone of your voice follow a specific pre-planned manner. It's almost as if you become a programmed robot with a list of homes to visits, a memorized speech, and gestures and tones that were practiced with the group earlier. Some one has already decided and figured out the most effective methods and volunteers just follow this method brainlessly. Calculability is just a nicer term then quantity over quality. Ritzer argues that calculability or the emphasis on quantifiable measures is the most defining dimension of rationality. Ritzer uses the SATs and GPA as examples. In fact, even as I write this paper I am more concerned about the grade I will receive rather than how much I really understand Ritzer's argument. ...read more.


With schools like the University of Phoenix it can be assumed that a student can go through their entire education career without ever meeting a professor or classmates face-to-face. Lastly, rational societies focus on controlling uncertainties in almost every aspect of life. In canvassing, the memorization of speeches and the use of pre-determined gestures and tones helps reduce the uncertainties associated with using human technologies. Instead of actually using robots to canvass for organizations, the volunteers and personnel working of the fund raising effort are turned into robots. Or, with the use of the web-tree Davidson controls the uncertainties of registering for a class. Students have specific numbers that indicate in what order they are assigned a class; "first come, first serve" no longer applies. There are no lines in the Registrar's Office and the school designates certain times and dates in which students can register using the web-tree. The uncertainties of class registration are controlled, as well as the students. Rationalization has affected nearly every society worldwide and the above situations are just a few examples of rationalization. ...read more.

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