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Individual task: A short, critical summary of a key text - Coursework Example

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A critical analysis of Ritzer’s “‘Efficiency’ from The McDonaldization of Society” Introduction The ‘McDonaldization of Society’ created a great deal of stir within the academic circles of sociological studies owing to its informal writing style and its support of the Weberian hypothesis on the auxiliary nature of postmodern society…
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Download file to see previous pages The content matter that explained this core theory was developed by Ritzer in the essay without adopting any special stylistic approach and opposed the almost playful and positive visions as presented by many postmodern social theorists. In contrast to the other social theories, Ritzer’s writing presented a perception that carried a rather dark and foreboding perspective of an increasingly hostile and disillusioned world. This article examines Ritzer’s notions on efficiency within the theory of ‘McDonaldization of Society,’ and uses Klein’s and Castells’ (and other theorists’) ideas to reflect critically upon Ritzer’s assumptions. Discussion A ‘McDonaldized’ world portrays a lifestyle that is highly straitjacketed with formalised regulations and norms, machine like efficiency, and governance by a technocratic and an impersonal organisation that would dominate all daily human interactions. Thus, the term can also be used to highlight the role of a dominant body or institution (the state or any other ruling body) which formally controls and organises all production resources and shapes the amalgamation of technology with society, under the current economic scenario of technology, consumerism and capitalism based globalisation (Castells, 2000). Castells delineates technology, primarily as the use of science-based knowledge to do things in a manner that is reproducible (Castells, 2000); a notion that has been adopted by McDonalds, where in order to produce maximum efficiency, human labour has been substituted largely by technology that reproduces the same products almost anywhere in the world, thus producing standardised global-based products. Ritzer’s choice of the McDonald’s restaurants as an archetypal example that defines all current issues in the postmodern contemporary world is largely appropriate, since ‘McDonaldization’ as analysed by Ritzer, encompasses the two important aspects of manufacture and consumption, and is applicable to wider realms of cultural, socio-economic, and political processes of a country. Ritzer, in his article, applies his notions to various phenomena that vary from leisure, work, food, education, media to politics. Taking into consideration such a wide range of topics elucidates the sociological moment of highlighting abstraction, developing a notion so broad that it is allows for a conceptual comprehension and translation of a great deal of information in a manner that helps in the delineation and framing of basic characteristics of the present time. This form of theorising, often criticised by postmodern theorists, helps one to view and give a critical analysis on the basic social institutions, dynamics and issues, which depicts the major strong areas within the realms of classical social theory. The fast food restaurants of McDonald's provide an example of a phenomenon that are familiar within a sociological setting and hence can be analysed to develop an understanding at a more macro and general level. There are very few institutions and artefacts in the current scenario that are as famous and omnipresent as McDonald's, with its brand logo (brand identities) like Ronald McDonald's, its Golden Arches, Big Macs, promotional tie-ups with popular cartoons, toys and movies, charities, other forms of advertising and their famous tagline “ ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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