Today, fast food restaurants have become a model for everyday life. Some scholars have even talked about the “McDonaldization” of the nation and the world. By that, scholars mean a drive toward greater efficiency, predictability, calculability, and control by non-human technologies in modern organizations. This drive has shaped many features of American life, including health care, law, and education. Such forces have even affected personal relationships. Sociologists have a term for this process: “rationalization.” We will explore “rationalization” through a process called “active learning” in which you will have opportunities to explore online resources, engage in peer-to-peer discussions, and work with me to develop a research project in which you explore the impact of rationalization on an occupation that might be a destination for you. We will spend one class period, every other week, working on the term paper in class. We will have four or five guests, sharing their expertise on how rationalization has affected their work. You will be assessed based on your contributions to blog posts, class discussion, short answer written assignments, and a research project culminating in a term paper (15-20 pages). You will then build an Adobe Spark page that explains, to the world, what you have learned. We will have no traditional examinations or quizzes.

Visit https://howardaldrich.org to view samples of prior term papers. Click on “Rationalization” in the top ribbon to see the beautifully illustrated term projects.