In this book, one of the leading social theorists and cultural commentators of modern times, turns his gaze on consumption. George Ritzer, author of the famous McDonaldization Thesis, demonstrates the irrational consequences of the rational desire to consume and commodify. He examines how McDonaldization might be resisted, and situates the reader in the new cultural spaces that are emerging in society: shopping malls, casino hotels, Disneyfied theme parks and Las Vegas -- the new `cathedrals of consumption' as he calls them. The book shows how new processes of consumption relate to globalization theory. In illuminating discussions of the work of Thorstein Veblen and the French situationists, Ritzer unearths the roots of problems of consumption in older sociological traditions. He indicates how transgression is bound up with consumption, through an investigation of the obscene in popular and postmodern culture.
Chapter 2: The Irrationality of Rationality
The Irrationality of Rationality
McDonaldization has swept across much of the social landscape because it offers increased efficiency, predictability, calculability, and control through the substitution of nonhuman for human technology. It also offers many more specific advantages in numerous settings. Despite these assets, there are a number of drawbacks and this chapter presents the great costs of McDonaldization in a systematic manner. Rational systems inevitably spawn a series of irrationalities that limit, eventually compromise, and perhaps even undermine their rationality. At the most general level, the irrationality of rationality is simply a label for many of the negative aspects and effects of McDonaldization. More specifically, this irrationality can be seen as the opposite of rationality and its several dimensions. That is, McDonaldization ...