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McDonaldization - Essay Example

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The theory of McDonaldization is a reinterpretation of Max Weber's theory of rationalization. Rather than using bureaucracy as the paradigm for the process, the fast food restaurant is the basis of the new model. Ritzer has defined McDonaldization as "the process by which the principles of the fast-food restaurant are coming to dominate more and more sectors of American society, as well as of the rest of the world."
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One of the fundamental concepts of McDonaldization is spatial expansion, otherwise known as globalization. From its beginnings as a fairly limited phenomenon, McDonaldization has begun to pervade every aspect of our existence, and even though it does not fit the model of globalization outlined by theorists, it is most definitely a global process. McDonalds restaurants themselves can be found all over the world, and many other countries have introduced their own variants of the fast food restaurant, including France, India, and Lebanon. More importantly, the qualities of the McDonalds brand as outlined above are being adopted by institutions and systems throughout the world that are unrelated to the fast food industry.
The globalization of these concepts can be attributed to a number of factors, the most obvious being the profit motive. The growing world-wide fascination with American culture, together with changes occurring in American society, and the lack of an alternative to McDonaldization, are also important factors.
There is little to stand in the way of the globalization of either the McDonalds franchise or the McDonalds culture. One of the biggest impediments is that many developing countries either have little to offer McDonaldized systems, or simply lack the funds needed to implement such changes. Local culture is also an important factor, in that McDonaldization is unlikely to be capable of changing an entire culture, and also that McDonaldized systems will likely have to adapt somewhat to the customs of local cultures. In addition to cultural factors, there are environmental concerns. McDonaldized systems often have associated health or environmental risks and many groups of people are opposed to such systems on these grounds.

Safety on the Sidewalks

Jane Jacobs' essay entitled The Uses of Sidewalks: Safety discusses how a community of people in any given area contributes to the safety of that area by activities they may or may not carry out on the streets. Jacobs argues that a street or area is not intrinsically safe or dangerous because its location, but because of the attitudes and habits of the people who live there.
According to Jacobs, the public peace of city streets is kept not by police or other authorities, but by "an intricatenetwork of voluntary controls and standards among the people themselves, and enforced by the people themselves". In places where such a network does not exist, the keeping of order is left to the police, and such places are not safe because citizens are not policing themselves.
Jacobs cites three main qualities a street must have in order to be safe. First, there should be a "clear demarcation between what is public space and what is private space" This means, for example, that private business between individuals is not carried out on the street or in stores, and that private homes are not left open for the public to enter. Second, there should be "eyes upon the street", that is, the buildings of the street must be oriented so that their windows face the street. Lastly, the sidewalks should be continuously inhabited, both to increase the number of people on the street watching the ... Read More
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