“The McDonaldization Thesis: Is expansion inevitable?”

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The McDonaldization Thesis: Explorations and Extensions

George Ritzer is Distinguished University Professor at the University of Maryland, where he has also been a Distinguished Scholar-Teacher and won a Teaching Excellence Award. He was awarded the 2000 Distinguished Contributions to Teaching Award by the American Sociological Association and an honorary doctorate from LaTrobe University in Australia. His best-known work, The McDonaldization of Society, has been read by hundreds of thousands of students over two decades and translated into over a dozen languages. Ritzer is also the author of a series best-selling social theory textbooks for McGraw-Hill; McDonaldization: The Reader; and other works of critical sociology related to the McDonaldization thesis, including A Critique of the Global Credit Card Society, Enchanting a Disenchanted World, The Globalization of Nothing, Globalization: A Basic Text, and The Outsourcing of Everything. He is the Editor of the Encyclopedia of Social Theory (2 vols.), the Encyclopedia of Sociology (11 vols.), and the Encyclopedia of Globalization (5 vols.), and is Founding Editor of the Journal of Consumer Culture. In 2014 he published the second edition of Introduction to Sociology with SAGE.

4. Unlike LPT the McDonaldization thesis is not limited to workplace processes

The McDonaldization Thesis: - International Sociology

Criticisms of the McDonaldizaton theory are based on the dark, somewhat foreboding picture of globalization that Ritzer paints. It is somewhat difficult to associate these negative predictions as a reality in the global marketplace.

Ritzer, George. “The McDonaldization Thesis: Is expansion inevitable?” International Sociology 11 (1996), 291-308.

George Ritzer is Distinguished University Professor at the University of Maryland, where he has also been a Distinguished Scholar-Teacher and won a Teaching Excellence Award. He was awarded the Distinguished Contributions to Teaching Award by the American Sociological Association, an honorary doctorate from LaTrobe University in Australia, and the Robin Williams Lectureship from the Eastern Sociological Society. His best-known work, The McDonaldization of Society (8th ed.), has been read by hundreds of thousands of students over two decades and translated into over a dozen languages. Ritzer is also the editor of McDonaldization: The Reader; and author of other works of critical sociology related to the McDonaldization thesis, including Enchanting a Disenchanted World, The Globalization of Nothing, Expressing America: A Critique of the Global Credit Card Society, as well as a series best-selling social theory textbooks and Globalization: A Basic Text. He is the Editor of the Encyclopedia of Social Theory (2 vols.), the Encyclopedia of Sociology (11 vols.; 2nd edition forthcoming), the Encyclopedia of Globalization (5 vols.), and is Founding Editor of the Journal of Consumer Culture. In 2016 he will publish the second edition of Essentials of Sociology with SAGE.

The McDonaldization Thesis - Google Books


The McDonaldization Thesis presupposes some familiarity with Ritzer's earlier work, The McDonaldization of Society (1993), in which he defines McDonaldization as "the process by which the principles of the fast-food restaurant are coming to dominate more and more sectors of American society as well as the rest of the world" (1). These principles include efficiency, predictability, calculability (or an emphasis on quantification), and control (especially via non-human technologies). Taken together, they constitute the formal (functional or instrumental) rationality that undergirds McDonaldization. In the present work, Ritzer continues to sound the alarm by depicting McDonaldization as "a largely one-way process in which a series of American innovations are being aggressively exported to much of the rest of the world" (8).When Ritzer began writing and talking about the dangers of "," he struck a nerve: some agreed with him, but many others rushed to defend the pop-culture institution. He went on to write a social critique on the subject, applying sociological theories to the culture in a way that lay readers would understand. The (Pine Forge/Sage Publications) was successful enough that he wrote several follow-ups, including The McDonaldization Thesis and Enchanting a Disenchanted World (both Sage Publications).Although the author acknowledges that the McDonaldization thesis is rooted in Weber's reflections on rationality, specifically the notion of the "iron cage of rationality," he prefers the "simplicity" of Mannheim's thinking on the subject. The latter, for example, locates the fundamental irrationality of highly rationalized systems, such as McDonaldized ones, in threats to the ability to think; whereas, the former emphasizes threats to human values, an area the author deems unnecessarily messy for the purposes of his theoretical analysis. The author further justifies this position by noting the cognitive demands of the present post-industrial system in which human beings live. Indeed, it is the dehumanization resulting from the simultaneous increase in functional rationality and decrease in substantive rationality, which rationalized systems demand and perpetuate, that animates the author.Still, he does not entertain the possibility that his thesis may be limited to the US context. Instead, he readily applies it to settings outside the US without considering how different groups experience McDonaldization or what it means to them, assuming it has any meaning at all. Its suitability is seemingly justified by the growing number of fast-food restaurants and Disneyland-like amusements world-wide. This is not to say that the McDonaldization thesis is without significance. It is thought provoking, amusing, and disturbing. However, for those who are interested in what is taking place on the ground, the theoretical output of The McDonaldization Thesis needs to be balanced with a good deal more empirical input.From an anthropological perspective, The McDonaldization Thesis would be greatly improved with a bit of ethnographic engagement. Even if McDonaldization and the new means of consumption are ubiquitous as the author claims, there is still a need to contextualize the discussion of them. Why not explore particular McDonald's employees' responses to their routinized tasks or consider the examples of appropriation of the exports of the McDonaldized system? Herein lies the evidence of transformation, resistance, and acceptance. Little is done in the way of exploring counter-trends to McDonaldization, although Starbuck's is praised for the high quality of its coffee. Moreover, while the author readily admits that his discussion of McDonaldization has an upper- and middle-class bias, he makes a weak attempt in the final pages of the text to explore issues of stratification, including race, gender, class, and age. George Ritzer is Distinguished University Professor at the University of Maryland, where he has also been a Distinguished Scholar-Teacher and won a Teaching Excellence Award. He was awarded the 2000 Distinguished Contributions to Teaching Award by the American Sociological Association and an honorary doctorate from LaTrobe University in Australia. His best-known work, The McDonaldization of Society, has been read by hundreds of thousands of students over two decades and translated into over a dozen languages. Ritzer is also the author of a series best-selling social theory textbooks for McGraw-Hill; McDonaldization: The Reader; and other works of critical sociology related to the McDonaldization thesis, including A Critique of the Global Credit Card Society, Enchanting a Disenchanted World, The Globalization of Nothing, Globalization: A Basic Text, and The Outsourcing of Everything. He is the Editor of the Encyclopedia of Social Theory (2 vols.), the Encyclopedia of Sociology (11 vols.), and the Encyclopedia of Globalization (5 vols.), and is Founding Editor of the Journal of Consumer Culture. In 2014 he published the second edition of Introduction to Sociology with SAGE.