George Ritzer's McDonaldization thesis argued that contemporary life is succumbing to the standardization, flexibility and practicability of fast-food service. This book brings together specially commissioned papers by leading social and cultural analysts to engage in a critical appraisal of the thesis. The contributors discuss the roots of the thesis, the rationalization of late modern life, the effects of increasing cultural commodification, the continuing prominence of American cultural and economic imperialism and the impact of globalization on social and cultural life. The strengths and weaknesses of the McDonaldization thesis are clearly evaluated and the irrational consequences of rationalization are pinpointed and critically
With its gears, levers and large clock, the murky brick-walled factory, straight out of Charlie Chaplin's Modern Times, is forbidding. Freshly scrubbed children in their school uniforms close-march onto the assembly line in single file. ‘We don't need no education. We don't need no thought control,’ they sing earnestly and resolutely. The first batch processing renders them all alike; in snouted pig-face masks, they are seated at school desks on the moving assembly line. They still shout their doomed sing-song protest.
Further down the line, the children march along a narrow railed passageway that ends abruptly. One by one, they drop down into the next processing station, a large meat grinder, where they merge into a completely uniform product, ground meat. (McDonald's ...