Rationalization (sociology)  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

In sociology, rationalization is the process whereby an increasing number of social actions and interactions become based on considerations of teleological efficiency or calculation rather than on motivations derived from custom, tradition, or emotion. It is regarded as a central aspect of modernity, manifested especially in Western society; as a behaviour of the capitalist market; of rational administration in the state and bureaucracy; of the extension of modern science; and of the expansion of modern technology.

Many sociologists, critical theorists and contemporary philosophers have argued that the spread of rationalization has a dehumanizing effect on Western society, moving modernity away from the central tenets of enlightenment.

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