Talk:Rationalization (sociology)

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Human Body[edit]

In the "Human Body" section of this article, the author writes "While mental disorders are a behavioral illness at the root, drugs are predominantly used for treatment in rationalized societies due to their advantage of being a quick and calculated solution." I have a number of problems with this.

First of all, not every mental disorder is characterized by a behavioral problem (an example of this is schizophrenia); moreover it is not generally said that "behavior illness" is the cause of a mental disorder. It seems that the phrase "behavioral illness" itself is faultily, because a person does not suffer from an ailment of his or her "behavior". In any case, "behavioral illness" certainly cannot be generally identified as the single "root" cause of a mental disorder since the causes of mental disorders are often multifaceted; indeed, there exists a variety of causes for mental illness and not just one. Examples include genetics, head injury, and traumatic experience. It might be said, however, that a pattern of "maladaptive behavior" may establish that a person indeed has a mental illness.

Second, the use of the word "while" seems to indicate that drugs are generally an inappropriate treatment for mental (or perhaps "behavioral"?) illnesses, when in fact, in some cases, drugs are highly effective in treating mental illness, more so than alternative treatments alone, and do not constitute a "quick and easy fix" as seems to be implied. The prototypical example of a mental illness for which drugs have been found reasonably effective is depression; in that case, drugs may form a legitimate component to an effective treatment package when taken under the supervision of a qualified professional.

An even better, although perhaps less well known example among the general public, is bipolar disorder. In many cases, the need for drug treatment is so strong that law enforcement agencies have taken it upon themselves to ensure that patients follow their regimen of lithium salts, because without them, it is feared that patients may run amok (in some cases, judicial systems have been able to prevent the, so deemed, unreasonable enforcement of such regimens, which patients are prone to break).

Finally, although I cannot substantiate this, I doubt that drugs are the "predominant" treatment for mental/behavioral/whatever problems, as the author writes. The ability to prescribe drugs to patients is simply not part of the majority of careers in mental health. This is not to say that such drugs are terribly difficult to obtain, but I find it hard to imagine that under such conditions that drugs form predominant choice of treatment of mental illnesses. Another reason that I am inclined to doubt this is that I'm not sure that there even exist a drug treatments for a large number of mental illnesses, although I cannot be sure of this.

Danielx 11:18, 14 August 2005 (UTC)

PS: I made an edit to this to add my signature, because my session expired before submiting

Thank you for your contribution. I have moved it down the page, however, as this is primarily a sociology article and therefore the fundamental discussions by the likes of Weber, Simmel, Habermas etc etc must be mentioned first. --Tomsega (talk) 16:44, 21 October 2009 (UTC)

Fast Food[edit]

Most likely, the reference / analogy to fast food came from the work of George Ritzer and probably needs to be credited / cited. Samatva 02:43, 16 January 2007 (UTC)

In regards to the Fast Food reference, it seems as though this could be seen as biased in that it presents the notion that Fast food restaurants are more effecient as fact, and assumes them to be a definite example of rationalization. 02:55, 5 August 2007 (UTC)

Bias toward industrialized society[edit]

It seems as though this article has a considerable bias toward industrial society being "better" than pre-industrial societies, or at least more rational, effective, logical, etc. The use of the term 'efficiency' to describe bureauocratization of medical treatment, fast food chains, supermarkets, capitalism, commercialization, and standardized testing, seems rather vague; where more output is provided for a larger number of consumers, in a pre-industrial society goods would be produced in smaller amounts, were they not also provided on a smaller scale? Regardless, I am not trying to advocate a view that 'life would be better if we all lived in an agrarian community', rather I am just trying to point out that the tone of this article could arguably be seen as biased, and raise the question of whether or not this article is in need of improvement. 05:09, 5 August 2007 (UTC)

I find it ironic that anyone would find this article slanted towards industrialized society, since I wrote most of it and I'm a green anarchist of a primitivist flavor. Rationalization as a theory was intended to be critical of the process it was describing. Max Weber found it a highly disturbing process and was hardly lauding it. "Rational" in the sense used by social scientists does not mean "logical", but rather means that a system based around numerical efficiency and calculation. That is to say it's about objective betterment (is more money being generated?) rather than subjective betterment (are things actually improvement?) Which is to say that it's a dehumanizing model whereby numbers are considered more reliable than people themselves. Some of your changes should probably be rolled back, as you seemed to think of this as an ideology rather than a theory critical of a certain process. Owen 03:35, 6 August 2007 (UTC)
Fair enough, although I did attempt to make it clear that the supposed bias may have only been personal interpretation, and even stated in one of my edit summaries that if my changes seemed unjustified, that they ought to be reverted. Regardless, it would seem, and this may just be my opinion, that there should be some elaboration on the meaning of rational in this context, perhaps through a brief mention of Weber's different types of rationality. For instance, if an article on, say, Stoicism did not make any mention on the ancient meaning of passion, a layperson could walk away with a somewhat inaccurate understanding of said school of philosophy. 05:27, 6 August 2007 (UTC)
Agreed. It certainly could use additional clarification, as lay and academic meanings can vary significantly, and mislead the reader. "Rational" means one thing in common parlance, and quite another in academic jargon. Some of your edits could probably be maintained, but I figured it better to make some clarifications here first and then let you decide what changes you feel are worth retaining. Owen 06:31, 6 August 2007 (UTC)

Extreme POV[edit]

I feel the term "unsightly furniture" is extraordinarily biased. I demand it be changed at once. -Roofus (talk) 23:51, 15 April 2008 (UTC)

Areas for improvement[edit]

  1. This article is making a positive contribution to understanding of the concept of rationalization, and I am glad to see it in development. There are several areas that should likely be considered for improvement.
  2. Rationalization as a process refers both to the very macro level (large scale social change) which is referred to in the first sentence. It also has a more mezo level meaning (on which Weber's studies typically focused) that can be characterized as the application of reason and formal rules to the operation of organizations. Thus rationalization refers both to the application for formal rationality principles in particular institutions or organizations and to the tendency for rationalization to spread to more and more domains and contexts, including those that perhaps ought not be rationalized. (will return in a bit, to flesh out this list)
  3. need cites to Economy and society, mcdonaldization etc
  4. flesh out discussion of religion and rationalization
  5. others. . . .--Htw3 (talk) 15:08, 23 September 2009 (UTC)
I've reorganised the page so that the fundamental sociological discussions, by Weber and Habermas etc, come first. I have also moved segments of the previously huge opening paragraph into the main body of text, added a good Habermas quote, and spliced some information from the Ritzer McDonaldization article (as it was bizarre the page mentioned fast food restaurants without also mentioning this famous contribution to sociology). --Tomsega (talk) 16:44, 21 October 2009 (UTC)

How about some critiques of the concept?[edit]

The article could use some critiques of this concept. I've tried to distance it a bit from the viewpoints of those it writes about. Allens (talk) 07:53, 7 November 2011 (UTC)


This smells very biased. "Corporate totem" is one example of a weasely wording in this article. — Melab±1 23:10, 6 September 2013 (UTC)