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Theories regarding the society have been the main concern of many sociologists during the 20st century. These theories are indications that as the society changes, human activities also change as well. In this regard, consequences of social change have directly affected the regular activities of mankind.But what actually is the meaning of theory? A theory as defined by many experts on different studies is the critical and systematic assumption of future occurrences depending on the things that are found and observed in present time. When it comes to sociology, theories are advanced concluded studies designed to at least predict the future social systems through the observance of present social developments. These theories are systematically organized which follows a certain pattern of development along the way. It makes knowledge on certain idealism clear and quite visional to the ones trying to understand it.The clarity of a theory must be given close attention for it to be valid. Its being applicable to many different sectors in the human community should also be considered as well. In this way, the relativity of the theory to the society would be rather obvious and considerably effective as well.Formulating theories is not a simple job though. It is a task requiring critical thinking and complex collection of ideas. Each idea being formulated is not just made from nothing but from strong evidences of actual facts.With regards to the sociological theories which were concluded during the 21st century, George Ritzer’s theory of McDonaldization and Robert Merton’s Functionalism theory has been one among the many interesting theories of social developments. The paragraphs to follow shall introduce the mentioned theories to be able to give clear discussions and understanding regarding the ideas proposed by Ritzer and Merton.The McDonaldization of the SocietyThe main basis of George Ritzer’s theory of McDonaldization of the society is Max Weber’s analysis of the society. Max Weber’s Rationalization theory states that the reaching process of the society is controlled by the replacement of modes of thinking wherein the analysis concerned with the analysis of efficiency and formalized social control is given high attention.On the other hand, George Ritzer intended to upgrade the said theory as well as integrate it with the modern social systems in the present community.  In his theory of McDonaldization is mainly focused by which fast food restaurants such as McDonald’s are able to give efficient service to the smallest areas of the present community around the world. It is as if McDonald’s fast food chains are already dominating entire America as well as with the whole world.How It All BeganSince the year 1955 the fast food chain of McDonald’s has already grown to over 31,000 outlets in the entire fast food industry world wide. For this reason, many restaurants already followed the set example by McDonald’s. As it gave way to a more profitable way of making business and higher rate of convenience for the consumers, other forms of food industry establishments are moved to follow the chain mentality introduced by McDonalds.But that’s not all there is to it. Even other business industries and social sectors already copy this way of  reaching the bigger population within in and at times even beyond the borders of the world. According to Ritzer, “In 1980’s and 1990’s McDonaldization has extended its reach into more and more regions of society, and those areas are increasingly remote from the heart of the fast-food business” (Ritzer, 1994:137). The progress of this process has already attracted other business sectors in the society. As for example, the media industry already aims to copy this process of reaching the remote communities as it would open doors to bigger population who will patronage both their products and services such as news and other public service provisions they ought to give. At times, even news itself is already worked upon so that it would be attractive enough to the local population.Ritzer states that there are five main dominant themes which govern the entire McDonaldization process. The said factors include efficiency, calculability, predictability, increased control, and replacement of human by non-human technology.EfficiencyThis factor actually means the choosing of certain mediums to be able to reach a specific end in a rapid way with the least amount of effort or cost of money. AS it is advertised by the companies, they post that the less cost services and the efficiency processes are for the good of the customers. Yet behind it all, these efficiency processes are mainly beneficial for the company that they are for the consumers.As for example, many companies already showcase the self service system for its consumers especially for the remote areas. Among which are the drive-up windows for fast food restaurants, the ATM machine se3rvices, Voice mails and microwavable dinners against the old time groceries wherein consumers tell their orders to the grocer. Everything now is adapting to the fast-paced living systems. As said earlier, the companies say that this is beneficial for the consumers; instead the work ends up with the consumers themselves. In reality, the consumers are faced with the challenges of trying to operate new technologies to be able to obtain their food or other products they would like to have from the companies.CalculabilityCalculability involves things that can be counted such as time, weight and cost of effort. As for example, many people would rather prefer microwavable food than spending too much time in the kitchen preparing and cooking dinner. This also goes well with the way news is delivered through media. Everything is straight to the point without extra informations which would only cloud the whole idea of the news itself.PredictabilityThis factor is concerned with the ability of the public to know what they can expect from the companies in the future. Everybody is concerned with how much secured they are with what they see in the society. And this includes the capability of different business companies to provide them with the services and products they need.The movie industry for example posts sequel movies where viewers tend to predict what is going to happen in the next movie, steering interest in them to watch out for the next show. Sequel movies such as Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, Chronicles of Riddick, Miss Congeniality and many others ensured most of their profit because of the basis that the first movies where rather successful.Increased ControlThis factor is governed buy the ability of business companies to control the ways in which consumers would demand for both the services and products they could provide for the society. They intend to have stronger and centralized control over the consumers since they are able to see what they are going to “ask for” through survey and actual observation.Control Through Substitution of Nonhuman for human technologyThis is where the human force of each business establishment is not required to think; instead all that is asked of them is to follow certain instructions. Indeed, technology made it “easier” for people to live. Allowing them to think less while obtaining the best products they could have.True, the theory of McDonaldization is obviously and widely observed in the society. But there is another theory that could be considered factual in the present social system. This shall be discussed in the paragraphs to follow.The Theory of Structural Functionalism by Robert MertonMerton’s theory has been mainly based from Parson’s theory of functionalism. Only that Merton’s view of this sociological theory is more focused on more limited factors only.  In his theory he concludes that not all social establishments are completely functional for everyone in the society. Some practices of these major establishments may only be functional for only a number of populations within the community. Merton talks of functional alternatives for establishments for them to be able to provide benefits to the society in the best possible way they could. IN the latter part of his study, he introduced the concepts of power and coercion into functionalism. It is but obvious that he showed how these two main factors of the society could affect the way everyone functions as it would pave way to power struggles and social conflict as well.Along with all these, Merton’s theory of structural functionalism directly refers to the different factors in the society which naturally interacts with everything. The five major situations an individual faces in the society are conformity, innovation, ritualism, retreatism, and rebellion. Whereas, conformity refers to the means and desires to achieve cultural goals socialized within an individual. Innovation then occurs when an individual strives to attain the social goals in a different way than what is socially accepted. Ritualism on the other hand refers to the situation where an individual aims for a goal in a usual way and yet disregards the goal as the main purpose of his struggle. Retreatism is both the rejection of goals and socially accepted ways of attaining the said goals along with this, rebellion also happens along the way. With these five major situations, individuals are directly affected with social functions and changes.Indeed, every sector in the community has its own function which may or may not be beneficial for the whole community. With the integration of human attributes such as power, pride and self-centralism, the function of the entire society is affected directly. Through rebellion or innovation, society itself can also affect the way an individual functions as a part of the society.ConclusionIndeed, there are many reasons and conclusions as well as theories which can be formulated basing from the actual events happening within the society. In this regard, each of the individuals within the society must be very observant of the changes he has to face in life.  In accordance with this, both the theories of McDonaldization and Structural Functionalism by George Ritzer and Robert Merton strongly suggest the reality of the human community during the present situation.Their ides of centralized power held by business firms through the fast-food chain system and the functional attribute of both individuals and establishments within the society could be obviously observed today.  Indeed, the truth of these theories are applied by many people and thus also get the benefits and receivers the consequences brought about by the social changes suggested within the theories.

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