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Social media: The development of a new McDonaldized institution

Journal: RUDN Journal of Sociology (Vol.20, No. 1)

Publication Date:

Authors : ;

Page : 18-29

Keywords : Facebook; McDonaldization; social media; McDonaldized institution; Facebook; VK; consumer society;

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The article examines the phenomenon of social media from the perspective of the McDonaldization theory. The author considers social media as inextricably linked with the consumer society systems to show that such media have become a new McDonaldized institution, the study of which provides new theoretical and methodological possibilities. The article provides an overview of the studies proving the increasing McDonaldizing effect on various social institutions of the Russian society, and considers social media in terms of factors of the McDonaldization theory. Two social networks - Facebook and VK - are described in G. Ritzer’s concepts of ‘nothing’ and ‘something’ as the McDonaldized institutions. The author identifies the theoretical-methodological significance of considering social media as McDonaldized institutions; shows that social media functionally correspond to all five factors of Ritzer’s McDonaldization; explains why the social network Facebook is a grobalized form of ‘nothing’ and, thus, a driving force of globalization, while the social network VK is a glocal form of ‘nothing’ and, thus, creates unique meanings at the border of local and global levels. One of such new meanings is that the VK reflects the traditional interpretation of gender identity, sexual orientation and marriage. The author concludes that social media are a McDonaldized institution that can become a new research optics, which presupposes the use of mixed methods research.

Last modified: 2020-08-02 07:35:50