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in psychology: see defense mechanismdefense mechanism,
in psychoanalysis, any of a variety of unconscious personality reactions which the ego uses to protect the conscious mind from threatening feelings and perceptions.
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  1. the general tendency within modern capitalist societies for all institutions and most areas of life to be transformed by the application of RATIONALITY. As seen by WEBER, for example, such a process of rationalization is the master process which underlies the transformation of the economic, political and legal institutions of western societies (notably in the spread of BUREAUCRACY and of systematic forms of accountancy and law). Furthermore, the effects of this process are also evident in other sectors of society, e.g. the bureaucratization of science and learning, and developments in music and in religious organization.

    Weber had major reservations about the implications of the operation of so seemingly inexorable a process, which he sometimes referred to as creating an ‘iron cage’ that would increasingly restrict individuality. He recognized that a narrow calculation of ‘instrumental rationality’ was likely to conflict with 'substantive rationality’ i.e. the rationality of outcomes appraised in terms of wider human objectives. At the same time, however, in a world ‘disenchanted’ by rationality, he did not believe that a 'strictly scientific’basis existed for a generalized conception of human interests or human needs. Human beings possess freedom of action, and must therefore ultimately make their own choices (see also VALUE FREEDOM AND VALUE NEUTRALITY).

    Other theorists have taken a more optimistic view of the outcome of the rationalization process. HABERMAS, for example, has suggested that ‘human interests’ will be identifiable in a context in which a truly democratic critical discourse exists (see also CRITICAL CULTURAL DISCOURSE). In general, however, sociologists have remained more agnostic on such issues (see also FORMAL AND SUBSTANTIVE RATIONALITY).

  2. any after-the-act justification of an action which seeks to present this action in a favourable light, as having a coherent rationale, in circumstances where such a ‘rational’ reconstruction lacks plausibility (compare DEFENCE MECHANISMS).
PARETO regarded many social accounts, including most sociological and political theorizing, as involving rationalization in this general sense, as lacking a truly objective basis (see RESIDUES AND DERIVATIONS). Although emphasizing the importance of distinguishing rationality from nonrationality Pareto had no illusions that rationality could ever become the guiding principle in social and political life; on the contrary, he is usually seen as a key figure in the pessimism about progress that typified much thinking in POLITICAL SOCIOLOGY at the turn of the 19th-century (see ÉLITE THEORY, NEOMACHIAVELLIANS).


A defense mechanism against difficult and unpleasant situations in which the individual attempts to use plausible means to justify or defend the unacceptable situations.
References in periodicals archive ?
The DOF was likewise evaluating whether the proposed cut in income tax would require a separate action from Congress or could be inserted as a provision of the fiscal incentives rationalization bill.
Retailers base their rationalization decisions on assumptions about the transferability of an item's sales to another SKU in the category.
There are, however, few, if any, studies concerning the post-World War II economy where the positive impact aspect of trade associations in general or certain trade associations in particular have been the focus, particularly their role in development and rationalization.
Thus, in the midst of the one-year anniversary of the start of our current "economic situation," we see the edges of rationalization begin to take hold.
It is likely that the $500 million in savings will not come entirely from inventory, keeping in mind the other cost savings associated with SKU rationalization --store labor, distribution and other logistics expenses, just to name a few.
Unfortunately, without a formalized product rationalization process, underperforming SKUs are recognized too late, and the enterprise is faced with eliminating the excess inventory and taking a loss on the product.
Unique to the learning perspectives within the milieu of structured interrogations, rationalizations for the crimes are part of the criminal's learning process.
Swedish paper and cardboard manufacturer Klippan AB said today (15 July) that it had identified further possibilities for rationalization within the group.
Ideally, grade rationalization produces benefits such as improved product mix higher yields, lower costs better quality and optimal financial performance Far too often however, repositioning grades on machines is poorly executed and the results are painful.
NTT divulged a rationalization plan in November 1999 four months after the telecom behemoth was broken up into two local call firms and one international and long distance-call carrier under the umbrella of a holding company.
The ideology (rationalization for action) was itself an emergent reality so that with each new development we can see a shift in rationalization and thus ideology.
Fraud research has identified three key indicators that an individual will commit fraud: perceived pressure, perceived opportunity and the person's rationalization or attitude.