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Related to rationalizations: callous, feigning, immunity, construed


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 ?
This requires the rigor of a management-driven product rationalization process based on relevant data.
As the title of the theory suggests, the most prominent interrogation tactic for this theory is rationalization.
Our hope may lie in the emerging realization of this reality and the emerging reality that does not need to preserve religious traditions as rationalizations for action.
Some investigators believe a strong moral code can prevent individuals from using rationalization to justify illicit behavior.
These risks and uncertainties include: the nature and timing of NOVA Innovene's announced rationalizations; the quantification and timing of any write-down to be taken by NOVA Chemicals as a result of the announced rationalizations, realizing synergies and cost savings targets; and other risks and uncertainties detailed from time to time in the publicly filed disclosure documents and securities commissions reports of NOVA Chemicals and its subsidiaries or affiliated companies.
After-tax costs connected to these rationalizations will be approximately $5.
In addition to the actions we have taken during the past three quarters, including headcount reductions and plant rationalizations, we will continue to take the necessary steps to mitigate the impact of the current environment.
Free cash flow generation should remain minimal in the near term, that is until additional capacity rationalizations take place or until economic conditions improve resulting in an increase in methanol demand.