McDonaldization, Islamic teachings, and funerary practices in Kuwait.
Drawing on George Ritzer's sociological concept of McDonaldization, this article explores the transformation of burial practices in Kuwait. It is argued that traditional, religious, and private ways of dealing with death have been modernized using the fast-food model of McDonald's. This article examines Islamic teachings on burial and how that model has been applied to the traditional Muslim funerary services, including cemetery management, grave excavation, funeral prayers, burial, and condolences, to make them more efficient vis-a-vis more profitable. Based on personal observations and random interviews, the study finds that the state bureaucracy in Kuwait has made burial rituals more efficient, standardized, calculable, and controlled. Furthermore, several associated irrationalities are also considered. Findings suggest that some individuals may not be happy with these changes but there is no popular resistance to McDonaldization of the burial practices, probably due to the authoritarian and welfare nature of the State of Kuwait.
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