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Mcdonaldisation

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Mcdonaldization

Although, especially in the United States, the ubiquitous hamburger chain has been around long enough for academics and other commentators repeatedly to have drawn attention to its social effects and analogies in other fields, it is the sociologist George Ritzer who coined the phrase in his book "The Mcdonaldization of Society" (Ritzer, 1996). In his book, which he describes as a work in social criticism, Ritzer analyses the particular ways in which the success of the American hamburger chain has impacted upon not only economic patterns, but in particular on a multitude of facets of social life in general. Basing his analysis on Max Weber's theory of rationalisation, he draws on extensive empirical and anecdotal data to trace these influences.
Mention have been made of the fact that the pattern of rationalisation which is so very patently typified by McDonald's, is by no means restricted to the domain of the fast-food market. In fact, in the modern society the first real representative of this wave is probably the supermarket, which came to the fore as a replacement for the corner store and has since itself been superseded by all sorts of hypermarkets. Also in the world of entertainment and healthcare, similar developments have taken place. As far as the first is concerned, video shop chains and Disneyland are pertinent examples, while nobody who has been to a private hospital or medical centre lately, needs to be reminded that the much idealised house doctor has been irretrievably replaced by a much more streamlined, effective, all-encompassing, but, alas, also a much more impersonal system of health care.
The growing importance of the Internet, and especially the way in which it is being marketed by service providers as a quick and easy way to instant gratification for upwardly mobile computer junkies, is in more ways than one a reflection of a McDonaldized society. Quick and easy access to as many sites as possible and to as much information as possible, regardless of its value, is precisely the triumph of quantity over quality. Add to this the basically impersonal communication that is typical of the Internet, and it is clear that there is a clear resemblance between McDonald's and the Web.
This clearly has its effect on the development of computer systems. According to Schlack (1996, p. 14) "(t)odays shrink-wrapped applications are the last place you'll find innovation". He points out that apart from operating systems, server software and multimedia and Web applications, very little of interest is happening in the world of computer systems. In spite of the problem of restricted bandwidth and other problems, one gets the idea that there is something of a concerted effort to force users into a particular paradigm of computer and software usage. That this is happening at the stage where computers are finally making it in the household worldwide and that computers in the home is probably moving towards surpassing in numbers personal computers in the workplace, should not come as any surprise.
As a prominent example of the rapid globalization of the American fast food industry, McDonald's is often the target of criticism for its menu, its expansion, and its business practices.
The McLibel Trial, also known as McDonald's Restaurants v Morris & Steel, is an example of this criticism. In 1990, activists from a small group known as London Greenpeace (no connection to the international group Greenpeace) distributed leaflets entitled What's wrong with McDonald's?, criticizing its environmental, health, and labor record. The corporation wrote to the group demanding they desist and apologize, and, when two of the activists refused to back down, sued them for libel in one of the longest cases in British civil law. A documentary film of the McLibel Trial has been shown in several countries.
Cultural imperialism is the practice of promoting, distinguishing, separating, or artificially injecting the culture of one society into another. It is usually the case that the former belongs to a large, economically or militarily powerful nation and the latter belongs to a smaller, less powerful one. Cultural imperialism can take the form of an active, formal policy or a general attitude. A metaphor of colonialism is employed: the cultural products of the first world "invade" the third-world and "conquer" local culture. In the stronger variants of the term, world domination (in a cultural sense) is the explicit goal of the nation-states or corporations that export the culture. The term is usually used in a pejorative sense, usually in conjunction with a call to reject foreign influence.
Cultural diversity
One of the reasons often given for opposing any form of cultural imperialism, voluntary or otherwise, is the preservation of cultural diversity, a goal seen by some as analogous to the preservation of ecological diversity. Proponents of this idea argue either that such diversity is valuable in itself, or instrumentally valuable because it makes available more ways of solving problems and responding to catastrophes, natural or otherwise.
Opponents of this idea deny the validity of the analogy to biodiversity, and/or the validity of the arguments for preserving biodiversity itself.…...

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