Topic: What are your thoughts on Weber’s theory of “Rationalization?” Have you seen evidence of the rationalization process he describes in your own life? If so, what impacts has the process had on you and your experience of the world? – Provide and discuss real world examples, if possible.
Discussion that you’ll be responding to:
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Your word choice of stagnancy and rigidity really resonated with my experiences and reminded me of the “iron cage of rationality” discussed in lecture. This concept is similar to the process of higher education you mentioned, where high school students are prompted to pick a program of study and carry through that for several years. This inevitably leads us to pick careers that are very specific within a field of study. The example of entering higher education matches quite well with the meaning of iron cage—once we start a specific program of study, it’s difficult to stop, which leads to more significant problems as a result.
As a result, other issues arise such as feeling lost among the crowd, and feeling isolation from the rest of our environment. Overall, it creates a disconnect from ourselves and from our surroundings. I think the loss of individuality and feeling stuck is such a detrimental result of rationalization. It leaves the future looking very bleak, and even more so when we accept the fact that there are extremely limited solutions to solving the consequences of rationalization. While Weber does propose a few possibilities to mitigate it, it’s quite disheartening to come to terms with the impacts of the rationalization process.
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