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The McDonaldization of Society

The McDonaldization of Society
Into the Digital Age

Tenth Edition

December 2020 | 232 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc
Recipient of a 2021 McGuffey Longevity Award from the Textbook & Academic Authors Association (TAA)

The book that made "McDonaldization" part of the lexicon of contemporary sociological theory, read by hundreds of thousands of students, is now in its Tenth Edition. George Ritzer's seminal work of critical sociology, The McDonaldization of Society, continues to stand as one of the pillars of modern sociological thought. Building on the argument that the fast food restaurant has become the model for the rationalization process today, this book links theory to contemporary life in a globalized world. Ritzer opens our eyes to many current issues and shows how McDonaldization’s principles—efficiency, calculability, predictability, and control—have been applied to other sectors of American society and throughout the world. This new edition continues to shift its focus to how we experience McDonaldization online, the new locus of production and consumption in the digital age.

Chapter 1: Introduction
McDonaldization: The Basic Principles

The Advantages of McDonaldization

A Critique of McDonaldization: Irrationality

McDonald’s: Creating the “Fast-Food Factory”

McDonald’s and Other Brick-and-Mortar Consumption Sites

The Long Arm of McDonald’s

McDonald’s as an American and a Global Icon

Digital McDonaldization

A Look Ahead

Chapter 2: Efficiency and Calculability: Consumers 1
Efficiency: Drive-Throughs and Finger Foods

Calculability: Big Macs, Algorithms, and Big Data

Chapter 3: Predictability and Control: Consumers 2
Predictability: It Never Rains on Those Little Houses on the Hillside

Control: Human and Nonhuman Robots

Chapter 4: Efficiency and Calculability: McJobs and Other McDonaldized Occupations 1
McJobs and the Dimensions of McDonaldization

Efficiency: It’s a Fetish

Calculability: Zeal for Speed

Chapter 5: Predictability and Control: McJobs and Other McDonaldized Occupations 2
Predictability: Scripting and Controlling Employees

Control: Even Pilots Aren’t in Control

Chapter 6: Irrationality: The Basic Dimensions
Irrationality: Dimensions and Settings



Irrationality: Major Settings

Dealing With Irrationality: Velvet, Rubber, or Iron Cages?


Epilogue: McDonaldization in the Age of COVID-19
About the Author

Ritzer's book is a classic detailing the emergence of rationalization frameworks as first proposed by Max Weber.

Dr Bill Brocato
Social Sciences Dept, Univ Of Maryland Eastern Shore
September 10, 2021
Key features
  • Ch. 1 and Ch. 2 from the previous edition have been combined to give a more streamlined introduction to McDonaldization past and present.
  • Ch. 6, on the irrationality associated with highly rational McDonaldized systems, includes a new discussion of discrimination by McDonald’s against Black employees, store managers and franchise owners.
  • Updated literature, data, and examples throughout provide students with a better reflection of current realities.
  • A new Appendix, “McDonaldization in the Age of COVID-19,” offers insights into early attempts to apply rationality to a global pandemic that is among the most irrational of events.
  • McDonaldization applies Max Weber's rationalization thesis to the contemporary era. While Weber focused on bureaucracies as the "iron cages" of rationalization in his time, the central premise of this book is that the fast food restaurant has become the model for the rationalization process today.
  • The book examines ways in which fast food businesses have created a system of operation based on efficiency, calculability, predictability, and control, and how the same principles have been applied to other settings and contexts such as motel chains, “big box” stores, churches, child care centers, college rankings, health care providers, the internet, and political participation.

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