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The European Journal of Communication Research

Ed. by Averbeck-Lietz, Stefanie / d'Haenens, Leen

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Volume 39, Issue 4


Social media and the McDonaldization of friendship

Maria Bakardjieva
Published Online: 2014-11-02 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/commun-2014-0017


This article employs the concept of McDonaldization introduced by George Ritzer (1993) in his Weberian analysis of the processes of formal rationalization characteristic of late modern consumer society to reflect on the social and cultural implications of the most recent wave of communication technologies – social media. It argues that social media smuggle formal rationality into the elementary forms of social interaction, most clearly illustrated through the way they redefine the notion of friendship. In an attempt to lay the ground for a “multiperspectivist approach” (Kellner, 1999) to this phenomenon, the article enters the Weberian argument into a conversation with other styles of theorizing social media such as Marxism, Critical Theory and sociological phenomenology.

Keywords: social media; McDonaldization; formal rationality; friendship; social interaction

About the article

Published Online: 2014-11-02

Published in Print: 2014-11-01

Citation Information: Communications, Volume 39, Issue 4, Pages 369–387, ISSN (Online) 1613-4087, ISSN (Print) 0341-2059, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/commun-2014-0017.

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