Max Weber On Capitalism Bureaucracy And Religion A Selection Of Texts Pdf
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Max Weber's The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism is a study of the relationship between the ethics of ascetic Protestantism and the emergence of the spirit of modern capitalism. Weber argues that the religious ideas of groups such as the Calvinists played a role in creating the capitalistic spirit. Weber first observes a correlation between being Protestant and being involved in business, and declares his intent to explore religion as a potential cause of the modern economic conditions.
- Max Weber, Democracy and Modernization
- The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism
- Max Weber, Democracy and Modernization
- Max Weber, Democracy and Modernization
Arguably the foremost social theorist of the twentieth century, Max Weber is known as a principal architect of modern social science along with Karl Marx and Emil Durkheim. His methodological writings were instrumental in establishing the self-identity of modern social science as a distinct field of inquiry; he is still claimed as the source of inspiration by empirical positivists and their hermeneutic detractors alike. Together, these two theses helped launch his reputation as one of the founding theorists of modernity.
Max Weber was born on April 21, Max Weber died on June 14, Weber was the eldest son of Max and Helene Weber.
Max Weber, Democracy and Modernization
Arguably the foremost social theorist of the twentieth century, Max Weber is known as a principal architect of modern social science along with Karl Marx and Emil Durkheim. His methodological writings were instrumental in establishing the self-identity of modern social science as a distinct field of inquiry; he is still claimed as the source of inspiration by empirical positivists and their hermeneutic detractors alike.
Together, these two theses helped launch his reputation as one of the founding theorists of modernity. In addition, his avid interest and participation in politics led to a unique strand of political realism comparable to that of Machiavelli and Hobbes. His father, Max Sr. His mother, Helene, came from the Fallenstein and Souchay families, both of the long illustrious Huguenot line, which had for generations produced public servants and academicians.
His younger brother, Alfred, was an influential political economist and sociologist, too. Also, his parents represented two, often conflicting, poles of identity between which their eldest son would struggle throughout his life — worldly statesmanship and ascetic scholarship.
Educated mainly at the universities of Heidelberg and Berlin, Weber was trained in law, eventually writing his Habilitationsschrift on Roman law and agrarian history under August Meitzen, a prominent political economist of the time. Greeted upon publication with high acclaim and political controversy, this early success led to his first university appointment at Freiburg in to be followed by a prestigious professorship in political economy at Heidelberg two years later.
Weber was also active in public life as he continued to play an important role as a Young Turk in the Verein and maintain a close association with the liberal Evangelische-soziale Kongress especially with the leader of its younger generation, Friedrich Naumann.
It was during this time that he first established a solid reputation as a brilliant political economist and outspoken public intellectual. His routine as a teacher and scholar was interrupted so badly that he eventually withdrew from regular teaching duties in , to which he would not return until Although severely compromised and unable to write as prolifically as before, he still managed to immerse himself in the study of various philosophical and religious topics, which resulted in a new direction in his scholarship as the publication of miscellaneous methodological essays as well as The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism — testifies.
Also noteworthy about this period is his extensive visit to America in , which left an indelible trace in his understanding of modernity in general [Scaff ]. After this stint essentially as a private scholar, he slowly resumed his participation in various academic and public activities.
At first a fervent nationalist supporter of the war, as virtually all German intellectuals of the time were, he grew disillusioned with the German war policies, eventually refashioning himself as one of the most vocal critics of the Kaiser government in a time of war.
As a public intellectual, he issued private reports to government leaders and wrote journalistic pieces to warn against the Belgian annexation policy and the unlimited submarine warfare, which, as the war deepened, evolved into a call for overall democratization of the authoritarian state that was Wilhelmine Germany.
By , Weber was campaigning vigorously for a wholesale constitutional reform for post-war Germany, including the introduction of universal suffrage and the empowerment of parliament. When defeat came in , Germany found in Weber a public intellectual leader, even possibly a future statesman, with relatively solid liberal democratic credentials who was well-positioned to influence the course of post-war reconstruction.
He was invited to join the draft board of the Weimar Constitution as well as the German delegation to Versaille; albeit in vain, he even ran for a parliamentary seat on the liberal Democratic Party ticket.
In those capacities, however, he opposed the German Revolution all too sensibly and the Versaille Treaty all too quixotically alike, putting himself in an unsustainable position that defied the partisan alignments of the day.
By all accounts, his political activities bore little fruit, except his advocacy for a robust plebiscitary presidency in the Weimar Constitution. Frustrated with day-to-day politics, he turned to his scholarly pursuits with renewed vigour. All these reinvigorated scholarly activities ended abruptly in , however, when he succumbed to the Spanish flue and died suddenly of pneumonia in Munich.
Max Weber was fifty six years old. Putting Weber in the context of philosophical tradition proper is not an easy task. For all the astonishing variety of identities that can be ascribed to him as a scholar, he was certainly no philosopher at least in the narrow sense of the term. His reputation as a Solonic legislator of modern social science also tends to cloud our appreciation of the extent to which his ideas were embedded in the intellectual tradition of the time.
In other words, Weber belonged to a generation of self-claimed epigones who had to struggle with the legacies of Darwin, Marx, and Nietzsche.
As such, the philosophical backdrop to his thoughts will be outlined here along two axes: epistemology and ethics. Weber encountered the pan-European cultural crisis of his time mainly as filtered through the jargon of German Historicism [Beiser ].
Arguably, however, it was not until Weber grew acquainted with the Baden or Southwestern School of Neo-Kantians, especially through Wilhelm Windelband, Emil Lask, and Heinrich Rickert his one-time colleague at Freiburg , that he found a rich conceptual template suitable for the clearer elaboration of his own epistemological position.
In opposition to a Hegelian emanationist epistemology, briefly, Neo-Kantians shared the Kantian dichotomy between reality and concept. Not an emanent derivative of concepts as Hegel posited, reality is irrational and incomprehensible, and the concept, only an abstract construction of our mind. Nor is the concept a matter of will, intuition, and subjective consciousness as Wilhelm Dilthey posited.
According to Hermann Cohen, one of the early Neo-Kantians, concept formation is fundamentally a cognitive process, which cannot but be rational as Kant held.
If our cognition is logical and all reality exists within cognition, then only a reality that we can comprehend in the form of knowledge is rational — metaphysics is thereby reduced to epistemology, and Being to logic.
As such, the process of concept formation both in the natural Natur - and the cultural-historical sciences Geisteswissenschaften has to be universal as well as abstract, not different in kind but in their subject matters.
The latter is only different in dealing with the question of values in addition to logical relationships. For Windelband, however, the difference between the two kinds of knowledge has to do with its aim and method as well. Cultural-historical knowledge is not concerned with a phenomenon because of what it shares with other phenomena, but rather because of its own definitive qualities.
For values, which form its proper subject, are radically subjective, concrete and individualistic. Turning irrational reality into rational concept, it does not simply paint abbilden a picture of reality but transforms umbilden it.
Occupying the gray area between irrational reality and rational concept, then, its question became twofold for the Neo-Kantians. One is in what way we can understand the irreducibly subjective values held by the historical actors in an objective fashion, and the other, by what criteria we can select a certain historical phenomenon as opposed to another as historically significant subject matter worthy of our attention.
Value-judgment Werturteil as well as value Wert became a keen issue. In so positing, however, Rickert is making two highly questionable assumptions. One is that there are certain values in every culture that are universally accepted within that culture as valid, and the other, that a historian free of bias must agree on what these values are. An empirical study in historical science, in the end, cannot do without a metaphysics of history.
German Idealism seems to have exerted another enduring influence on Weber, discernible in his ethical worldview more than in his epistemological position. This was the strand of Idealist discourse in which a broadly Kantian ethic and its Nietzschean critique figure prominently. The way in which Weber understood Kant seems to have come through the conceptual template set by moral psychology and philosophical anthropology. In conscious opposition to the utilitarian-naturalistic justification of modern individualism, Kant viewed moral action as simultaneously principled and self-disciplined and expressive of genuine freedom and autonomy.
On this Kantian view, freedom and autonomy are to be found in the instrumental control of the self and the world objectification according to a law formulated solely from within subjectification.
Furthermore, such a paradoxical compound is made possible by an internalization or willful acceptance of a transcendental rational principle, which saves it from falling prey to the hedonistic subjectification that Kant found in Enlightenment naturalism and which he so detested. Kant in this regard follows Rousseau in condemning utilitarianism; instrumental-rational control of the world in the service of our desires and needs just degenerates into organized egoism.
Instrumental transformation of the self is thus the crucial benchmark of autonomous moral agency for Kant as well as for Locke, but its basis has been fundamentally altered in Kant; it should be done with the purpose of serving a higher end, that is, the universal law of reason.
Weber was keenly aware of the fact that the Kantian linkage between growing self-consciousness, the possibility of universal law, and principled and thus free action had been irrevocably severed. Kant managed to preserve the precarious duo of non-arbitrary action and subjective freedom by asserting such a linkage, which Weber believed to be unsustainable in his allegedly Nietzschean age.
Although they deeply informed his thoughts to an extent still under-appreciated, his main preoccupation lay elsewhere. He was after all one of the founding fathers of modern social science. GARS forms a more coherent whole since its editorial edifice was the work of Weber himself; and yet, its relationship to his other sociologies of, for instance, law, city, music, domination, and economy, remains controvertible.
Accordingly, his overarching theme has also been variously surmised as a developmental history of Western rationalism Wolfgang Schluchter , the universal history of rationalist culture Friedrich Tenbruck , or simply the Menschentum as it emerges and degenerates in modern rational society Wilhelm Hennis.
The first depicts Weber as a comparative-historical sociologist; the second, a latter-day Idealist historian of culture reminiscent of Jacob Burckhardt; and the third, a political philosopher on a par with Machiavelli, Hobbes, and Rousseau.
Important as they are for in-house Weber scholarship, however, these philological disputes need not hamper our attempt to grasp the gist of his ideas. Suffice it for us to recognize that, albeit with varying degrees of emphasis, these different interpretations all converge on the thematic centrality of rationality, rationalism, and rationalization in making sense of Weber.
For example:. Taken together, then, the rationalization process as Weber narrated it seems quite akin to a metahistorical teleology that irrevocably sets the West apart from and indeed above the East. At the same time, nonetheless, Weber adamantly denied the possibility of a universal law of history in his methodological essays. It was meant as a comparative-conceptual platform on which to erect the edifying features of rationalization in the West. If merely a heuristic device and not a universal law of progress, then, what is rationalization and whence comes his uncompromisingly dystopian vision?
For instance, modern capitalism is a rational mode of economic life because it depends on a calculable process of production. This search for exact calculability underpins such institutional innovations as monetary accounting especially double-entry bookkeeping , centralization of production control, separation of workers from the means of production, supply of formally free labour, disciplined control on the factory floor, and other features that make modern capitalism qualitatively different from all other modes of organizing economic life.
The enhanced calculability of the production process is also buttressed by that in non-economic spheres such as law and administration. Legal formalism and bureaucratic management reinforce the elements of predictability in the sociopolitical environment that encumbers industrial capitalism by means of introducing formal equality of citizenship, a rule-bound legislation of legal norms, an autonomous judiciary, and a depoliticized professional bureaucracy.
Further, all this calculability and predictability in political, social, and economic spheres was not possible without changes of values in ethics, religion, psychology, and culture. The outcome of this complex interplay of ideas and interests was modern rational Western civilization with its enormous material and cultural capacity for relentless world-mastery.
On a more analytical plateau, all these disparate processes of rationalization can be surmised as increasing knowledge, growing impersonality, and enhanced control [Brubaker , 32—35]. First, knowledge. Rational action in one very general sense presupposes knowledge.
It requires some knowledge of the ideational and material circumstances in which our action is embedded, since to act rationally is to act on the basis of conscious reflection about the probable consequences of action.
As such, the knowledge that underpins a rational action is of a causal nature conceived in terms of means-ends relationships, aspiring towards a systematic, logically interconnected whole. Modern scientific and technological knowledge is a culmination of this process that Weber called intellectualization, in the course of which, the germinating grounds of human knowledge in the past, such as religion, theology, and metaphysics, were slowly pushed back to the realm of the superstitious, mystical, or simply irrational.
It is only in modern Western civilization, according to Weber, that this gradual process of disenchantment Entzauberung has reached its radical conclusion. Second, impersonality. Rationalization, according to Weber, entails objectification Versachlichung. For another, having abandoned the principle of Khadi justice i. Modern individuals are subjectified and objectified all at once.
Third, control. Scientific and technical rationalization has greatly improved both the human capacity for a mastery over nature and institutionalized discipline via bureaucratic administration, legal formalism, and industrial capitalism. Thus seen, rationalization as Weber postulated it is anything but an unequivocal historical phenomenon.
Second, and more important, its ethical ramification for Weber is deeply ambivalent. On the one hand, exact calculability and predictability in the social environment that formal rationalization has brought about dramatically enhances individual freedom by helping individuals understand and navigate through the complex web of practice and institutions in order to realize the ends of their own choice. Thus his famous lament in the Protestant Ethic :.
Modern Western society is, Weber seems to say, once again enchanted as a result of disenchantment. How did this happen and with what consequences? Disenchantment had ushered in monotheistic religions in the West. In practice, this means that ad hoc maxims for life-conduct had been gradually displaced by a unified total system of meaning and value, which historically culminated in the Puritan ethic of vocation.
The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism
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Max Weber, Democracy and Modernization
Macrosociology: Four Modern Theorists. Industrializing America. The Evolution of the Future. Great Classical Social Theorists.
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Max Weber, Democracy and Modernization
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