McDonalds, A social Institution
In 1940 two brothers, Richard and Maurice McDonald opened the first `fast food' restaurant in California. Since then this report will uncover the sociological impact by divulging in an analysis of McDonalds as a social institution. This paper will strive to prove conflict theory as its central thesis and apply the theory to discuss how a social institution such as McDonalds affects our society. The main focus will be on how the tenets of conflict theory apply to McDonalds. At the same time this paper will aim to educate the reader about the sociological impact McDonalds has had in our society by analysing the company through the fundamental principle of Conflict theory and its main tenets.
Conflict theory was developed by the German sociologist Karl Marx. He proposed that conflict is inevitable within a society where citizens struggle for resources and power. During the time of the industrial revolution Marx realized that the revolution was creating social and economic division amongst people. Marx blamed industrial capitalists for oppressing the poor people and perpetuating the inequality of power.
The following are the Tenets of conflict theory:
A materialistic view of society (the bourgeoisie and the proletariat)
Karl Marx distinguished individuals of the society by putting them into two groups; bourgeoisie and proletariat. The bourgeoisie group consisted of industrialists who owned factories and other means of production. For example the owners of McDonalds are classified as bourgeoisie. The proletariat group consisted of all the working class individuals that worked for the bourgeoisie such as staff members employed at McDonalds.
A critical stance toward existing social arrangements
According to Marx the bourgeoisie used their influence and wealth to secure institutions. They secured education and politics so that they could organize these institutions to represent those in power while preserving the class structure. Acceptance of this ideology by the masses is referred by Marx as false consciousness. False consciousness is the process used by the bourgeoisie to mislead the proletariat. The proletariat fail to realize that they are under false consciousness.
A dynamic model of historical change (transformation of society)
Marx believes that for society to prosper the oppressed must realize the true reality of their life and challenge the status quo. Growing tension and conflict in the Middle East justifies Marx's theories. The oppressed citizens realized they were under a veil of false consciousness and fought back against the government for their freedom. For example citizens of Egypt successfully rebelled against the dictatorship of Hosni Mubarak. A new social arrangement was formed where Mubarak agreed to step down and the citizens were able to freely elect a suitable replacement.
Application and analysis