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George Ritzer (b. 1940) is Distinguished University Professor of Sociology at the University of Maryland. His most important work has been in sociological theory, especially metatheory, and the application and development of theory in the sociology of consumption. Outside sociology, George Ritzer is best known for his term, McDonaldization. He has other and perhaps stronger claims to significance in sociology, but this article will begin with McDonaldization, because it is one of the few recent ideas that have originated in sociology and connected with a general intellectual public.

As Ritzer recognized, McDonald's has become a key symbol that connects the process of socialization through mundane activities (our childhood experiences of dining out) to global capitalist developments (the golden arches as one of the most prominent signs ...

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