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The McDonaldization of Society

The McDonaldization of Society
Into the Digital Age

Ninth Edition

Other Titles in:
Social Theory

January 2018 | 280 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc

The author is a proud sponsor of the 2020 SAGE Keith Roberts Teaching Innovations Award—enabling graduate students and early career faculty to attend the annual ASA pre-conference teaching and learning workshop.

The book that made "McDonaldization" part of the lexicon of contemporary sociological theory, read by hundreds of thousands of students, is now in its Ninth Edition!

George Ritzer's seminal work of critical sociology, The McDonaldization of Society, continues to stand as one of the pillars of modern day 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 and resonates with students in a way that few other books do. Ritzer opens students’ eyes to many current issues and shows how McDonaldization’s principles apply to other settings, especially in the areas of consumption and globalization. This new edition has been significantly reoriented to reflect our experience of McDonaldization in the world of online consumption.

New to this Edition

  • Examines how retailers like Amazon represent a new era of “datafication,” the transformation of vast amounts of information into quantifiable data.
  • Discusses how the digital world has almost unlimited potential to turn consumers into “prosumers” doing volunteer work formerly done by paid employees.
  • This edition is more streamlined than previous editions to sharpen its argument and message, and make it more useable as a secondary reading in a wide range of courses


Chapter 1: Introduction
McDonaldization: The Basic Principles

The Advantages of McDonaldization

A Critique of McDonaldization: The Irrationality of Rationality

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

A Look Ahead

Chapter 2: McDonaldization Past and Present
Thinking about the Brick-And-Mortar "Solids", Digital "Liquids", and the Augmented Reality of "Bricks-and-Clicks"

Key Predecessors

McDonaldization and Consumption Today

Comparing McDonald's, Wal-Mart, and Amazon

Chapter 3: Efficiency and Calculability: Consumers 1
Efficiency: Drive-Throughs and Finger Foods

Calculability: Big Macs, Algorithms, and Big Data

Chapter 4: Predictability and Control: Consumers 2
Predictability: It Never Rains on Those Little Houses on the Hillside

Control: Human and Nonhuman Robots

Chapter 5: 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 6: Predictability and Control: McJobs and Other Mcdonaldized Occupations 2
Predictability: Scripting and Controlling Employees

Control: Even Pilots Aren't in Control

Chapter 7: The Irrationality of Rationality: Traffic Jams on Those "Happy Trails"
Inefficiency: Long Lines at the Checkout

High Cost: Better off at Home

False Friendliness: "Hi, George" and Emojis

Disenchantment: Where's the Magic?

Health and Environmental Hazards: A Day's Calories in One Fast-Food Meal

Homogenization: It's No Different in Paris

Dehumanization: Getting Hosed at "Troff 'n' Brew"

Dehumanized Death: Dying Amidst Machines and Strangers

The Irrationalities of McJobs: Just Hand the Bag Out

Digital Sites: Dehumanization and Other Irrationalities

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


About the Author


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