How to Rage Against the Dying of the Light? A Critique of Ritzer's McDonaldization Thesis.
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Ritzer presents his 'The McDonalization of Society' as a social critique on the nationalization of modern society. In this article I will analyze the underlying assumptions of his critique. By means of a meta-theoretical analysis, I examine Ritzer's views on modernity and rationality. This analysis reveals that Ritzer holds a rather dualistic view of the relation between man and society. Ritzer does not give much thought to the ambivalence of modernity. I wil further argue that Ritzer uses a resticted idea of rationality. As a result, he can not escape the pessimism which also marked Weber's vision of the future. Ritzer can only offer his reader the hope that an awareness of McDonzalization will unleash a critical attitude towards the inevitable rationalization of the lifeworld. He does not present a well-founded theory of rational behavior, necessary for coping with a McDonzalized society. By introducing Habermas' theory of communicative action, and more specific his idea of rationality, I propose an alternative to Ritzer's hope.