Renowned sociologist to discuss globalization, fast food and Facebook

April 13, 2011

Sociologist Dr. George Ritzer, author of “The McDonaldization of Society,” will present the 2011 Honors Lecture, “Globalization, Fast Food, and Facebook: What Do They Have to Do with One Another, You and Me?” at 7:30 p.m. April 26 on campus in McDaniel Lounge.

The lecture is free and open to the public. For more information, call 410-857-2290.

A Distinguished University Professor at the University of Maryland, Ritzer’s current interests are fast-food restaurants as part of consumer culture and the “McDonaldization of Society,” globalization (which includes McDonaldization, as well as many other processes), and Facebook as part of Web 2.0.

“I will discuss these topics in the context of my personal – not too personal – history and the changing social world in which we live,” says Ritzer, an expert on the topics of consumption and globalization. “Over the years my interests and the topics that I study have changed, sometimes accidentally, as I have evolved but they also have changed as a result of developments in the social world.”

McDonald’s, Ritzer explains, was created in 1955, the term “globalization” was hardly used before 1990, and Facebook was created less than a decade ago.

“These concerns reflect not only personal and social history, but also my lifelong interest in social theory,” Ritzer says. “As I will show, my orientation to these and other topics is always shaped and informed by my favorite theoretical perspectives.”

Ritzer is the author of six books in the field of sociology, including “The McDonaldization of Society,” now in its sixth edition and translated into more than a dozen languages. His books in metatheory include “Sociology: A Multiple Paradigm Science” (1975/1980) and “Metatheorizing in Sociology” (1991). In the application of social theory to the social world, his books include “The McDonaldization of Society” (6th ed., 2011), “Enchanting a Disenchanted World” (3rd ed. 2010), and “The Globalization of Nothing” (2nd ed., 2007). His most recent book is “Globalization: A Basic Text” (Blackwell, 2010). He is working on “The Outsourcing of Everything” (with Craig Lair, Oxford, forthcoming). His books have been translated into more than 20 languages.

Ritzer has chaired the American Sociological Association’s Section on Theoretical Sociology, as well as the section on Organizations and Occupations, and is the first chair of the section-in-formation on Global and Transnational Sociology. The founding editor of the Journal of Consumer Culture, he edited the “Blackwell Companion to Major Social Theorists” (2000), “The Blackwell Companion to Globalization” (2008) and co-edited the “Handbook of Social Theory” (2001). He also edited the 11-volume Encyclopedia of Sociology (2007) and the two-volume Encyclopedia of Social Theory (2005) and is editing the Encyclopedia of Globalization (forthcoming).

With others, Ritzer is editing a special issue of the American Behavioral Scientist on prosumption. Among his awards are Honorary Doctorate from La Trobe University, Melbourne, Australia; Honorary Patron, University Philosophical Society, Trinity College, Dublin; and American Sociological Association’s Distinguished Contribution to Teaching Award. He has a B.A. from City College of New York, an M.B.A. from the University of Michigan, and a Ph.D. in Industrial and Labor Relations from Cornell University.

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