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A BOOK REVIEW BY TANJA MERČUN
George Ritzer is a Distinguished University Professor at the University of Maryland. His numerous works are used in undergraduate and postgraduate studies all over the world: from Princeton University to University of Ljubljana. He is considered to be the pioneer of McDonaldization thesis which he published in a book named The McDonaldization of Society: An investigation Into the Changing Character of the Contemporary Social Life. According to the author, this book was written after a speech he gave in 1990, where he only touched the subject but found out that it was the only thing the audience wanted to talk about in open discussion. As he got the same reaction from all his students it seemed high time to write a book McDonaldization. A person might think this is a book about McDonald’s or fast food, but in fact it is much more. It describes the phenomenon that has been happening in our society for the last few decades. The author names it after McDonald’s, the first chaincompany that has managed to rationalize and bureaucratize its business in order to be successful. As the author states, McDonaldization is “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”. (Ritzer,1992, 1) This means that McDonaldization is present in our daily life and it affects not only restaurant business, but also work, travel, shopping, television etc. How? By successfully combining four main dimensions: efficiency, calculability, predictability and control. Efficiency is searching for the optimum, best possible way to reach a goal without wasting time and energy. Finger food, home made fastfood and TV shopping networks are effective because they allow the consumer the fastest and easiest way to complete a task. Calculability has, according to Ritzer, become the measure of quality. Because more is better, package tours enable tourists to see the highest possible number of places, newspapers like USA Today offer a large number of short, easily read stories (junkfood journalism) and schools concentrate only on grade average. Predictability, the third dimension, is also a very important part of postmodern age. The main idea is that people don’t want nor expect surprises. They go to McDonald’s and the meal will be the same whether they eat in New York or Moscow. The story repeats itself with motel chain Holiday Inn, TV dinners… They offer a predictable world so a person doesn’t have to cope with unpredictability that would be inconvenient. The last but not least is control, which is possible because of the replacement of human for nonhuman technologies. Ritzer claims that even the most robotized worker is the source of unpredictability and must therefore be replaced. He also points out the number of rules that are turning employees into zombies. Today we have drink dispensers, supermarket scanners and employees in uniform who are taught exactly what to say. As every good sociologist, Ritzer goes back in time, looking for the beginners of rationalization, their contribution and thesis. This way he analyses Weber, the classical sociologist of rationalization, Henry Ford, the inventor of assembly line and Taylor who developed a series of principles designed to make work more efficient. He also presents hundreds of examples to warn
nine chapters with introduction and conclusion in each one of them it is a very systematic book as nonfiction books usually are. but has had six reprints since. It was first printed in 1992. which means that it has become a bestseller. Through the book. but human beings with the right to experience life as an adventure. but there are also some from Japan. Ritzer proves to be a good scientist by combining classical sociological theories with his observations on current society. This is not surprising because the book is so innovative and interesting to read. . talents and knowledge. Ritzer describes and analyses neutrally.and convince the reader that McDonaldization is all around him. but in the end he shows his concern for the future and even offers some tips how to avoid McDonaldization in our lives. Of course the examples are mostly taken from the USA. to use our imagination. Each new edition is a bit different because the author adds his latest. The book provides all information a demanding reader could wish for: bibliography. Having a preface. freshest observations. notes about quotations and index. Russia and France. This is important so we will regain the possibility to be innovative. After all we are not robots. He is recognized as a brilliant sociologist and his thesis are mentioned in the works of other scholars.
1) EFFICIENCY = učinkovitost CALCULABILITY = preračunljivost PREDICTABILITY = predvidljivost CONTROL = nadzor CONTEMPORARY = sodoben .GEORGE RITZER The McDonaldization of Society: An Investigation Into the Changing Char acter of Contempor ar y Social Life McDonaldization is “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”. (Ritzer.1992.