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George Ritzer, the author of the McDonaldization of the society, provides an insight into the dynamics of the society by using a fast food example. The concept of McDonaldization is due to McDonald's fast food chain that has been able to give an account for fast foods to make the franchise successful. From his arguments, the author argues that the ideologies of the society are analogous to the fast food chains. An important aspect of the book is that the author goes beyond the concept of the fast food chains to offer explanations to present societal trends and the future expectations of the society. In addition, Ritzer provides an insight of how people in the society will adjust to the effects of McDonaldization in the times to come. This paper reviews on the book McDonaldization of the society through examining the comprehensive manner of the contents of the book and a complete review of the contents. In addition, the paper explains the theories, concepts, and illustrations that the author uses in order to pass his message across, putting into consideration the themes of the book.
The Book has all the elements that a reader may need in order to understand the contents of the book. It has a preface, chapters arranged in a systematic manner having an introduction and conclusion in each of the chapters. In addition, the book has a bibliography, notes, and reference index. According to the author, McDonaldization refers to the processes by which fast food chains are significantly dominating various societal aspects in the United States and the rest of the world. The author provides his explanations by adding the suffix "ization" in order to incorporate the fast food chain principles in the aspects of the contemporary society and provide an analysis of the changing attitudes that McDonaldization has on social life of people in the present times. At first sight, a reader might be tempted to think that the book focuses on McDonald's and other fast foods chains, the author uses the principles of fast foods chains to exemplify his thoughts regarding how the fast food chains principles are persistently becoming an integral part of social life. An overview of the contents of the book reveal that the author begins by explaining the key principles involved in the concept of McDonaldization with regard to the global perception of McDonald's as a fast food chain. In the introduction part, the author introduces the four principal dimensions of the McDonaldization concept, which are efficiency, calculability, predictability, and control.
The author also criticizes the ideology behinds McDonaldization and highlights the key advantages associated with McDonaldization. In the second chapter of the book, the author highlights the past, the contemporary, and the forthcoming aspects of McDonaldization through explaining theories such as Bureaucratization, the holocaust, the significant forces that enhancing McDonaldization of the contemporary society, scientific management, the role of McDonaldization in influencing social changes and other social changes deemed major. In addition, the author highlights the possibility of any factors that may hinder the McDonaldization of the society. The subsequent chapters provide an explanation of the key concepts of McDonaldization such as efficiency, calculability, predictability, control, globalization and McDonaldization, a practical guide to dealing with McDonaldization and the McDonaldization of the society. The structural arrangement of the contents of the book follow a logical manner, whereby the author explains one concept after the other, and provides the relationship between the various concepts that McDonaldization of the society entails. The author succeeds in interlinking the various elements of the book, in order to pass the required information to his audience. The following section provides an explanation of the contents of the book.
From the above, it is evident that McDonaldization takes place in our present daily life. It does not only apply to the context of fast food restaurants, but also other activities of our daily lives such as shopping, travelling, socializing, and many more. The author justifies this by first explaining the underlying argument behind McDonaldization and its effects on the present society. The McDonald's fast food chain has rationalized and applied appropriate bureaucratization in order to remain successful in the fast food industry. With this regard, Ritzer attempts to explain the principles that McDonald and other fast food chains are using during their operation, and how those principles are affecting our daily social life in the United States and at the global arena. Ritzer uses examples to justify his arguments towards the social effects of McDonaldization. The explanation for the four dimensions provides a relationship between McDonaldization and the social elements of people. In this context, efficiency simply means aiming at the optimum, implying that one can achieve his goals with minimal time and energy. Narrowing down to the context of fast food, efficiency is achieved when the food is not prepared on site, and the customer must have minimum choice in order to enhance lessen the decision time. The author argues that the only effective way to achieve high levels of efficiency as witnessed in McDonalds and other fast food chain is through having knowledge of the calculable elements and optimizing on their usage.
For instance, knowing the precise duration it takes to serve a customer. This knowledge and optimization fosters predictability; an element that McDonalds relies on to upbeat the competition in the fast food industry. For example, McDonalds ensures that irrespective of the time and location a customer is; its products such as Big Mac will always taste the same. According to Ritzer, the most crucial element of McDonaldization is the levels of control that are supposed to be deployed in order to foster standardization. The author emphasizes on control through what he refers to as non-human technologies. These technologies are not a source of empowerment to the individual, rather, they overpower the person in a somewhat real life situation that is rationalized such as the computerized world, a deep fryer that has been timed, and computerized cash registers. Throughout the book, the author identifies the concept of McDonaldization in almost every aspect of our daily lives such as the newspaper industry, higher education, funeral services, and health services provision.
However, the author asserts that McDonalds is perfect example of rationalization. A summary of the first section of the book reveals that efficiency allows the consumer to complete a decision task in the fastest and efficient way possible. Calculability serves to evaluate quality while predictability focuses on the concept of standardization, in the sense that a McDonald's food is always the same irrespective of the location and time. The aspect of control focuses on the replacement of non-human technologies that converts employees to zombies. With this in regard, Ritzer embarks on analyzing the contributions and hypotheses of the major pioneers of rationalization, whereby he looks at the works of Weber, henry Ford and Taylor. Weber was one of the prominent classical sociologists of rationalization; Taylor was the inventor of scientific management while Henry Ford was the inventor of the assembly line. In addition, the author provides numerous examples to the reader concerning the extent to which McDonaldization has affected the society.
The second section of the book lays emphasis on the negative impacts associated with McDonaldization, with a specific emphasis on the aspect of de-humanization. Ritzer observes the effects that McDonaldization can have on the individual since non-human technologies impeded creative decision-making processes since all the tasks are carried out by the rationalized machine, which has no ability of expansion due to the fact it is programmed or timed to undertake a particular task in regular intervals. There are also other negative effects of McDonaldization such as the difficulty in controlling employees, high cost, health hazards, and many more. In Chapter 9, dealing with McDonaldization, Ritzer provides suggestions of how people can handle the McDonaldization process, through a modification of the consumption trends and changes in the general lifestyles, with the aim of moving towards a society that embrace humanity. Ritzer suggests that most of the negative effects associated with McDonaldization are due to failure of the society to have a sense of humanity, as evident by increased usage of non-human technologies to undertake tasks on behalf of people.
The author is successful in analyzing the orthodox sociological theories with the observations on the contemporary society. An important aspect of the book its analysis is neutral and views both sides of the concept of McDonaldization in the current society. However, in the conclusion, the author expresses his concerns for the needs to fight McDonaldization in the future, and provides some propositions that may be helpful in avoiding McDonaldization of the society in future. Ritzer stresses the importance of avoiding McDonaldization of the society because of its impediments to make people to use their imaginations, knowledge, and gifts. The underlying fact is that we are human beings and we have the right to live life and make good use of what we are capable of instead of allowing robots and machines to take our place.