Max Weber

Max Weber

Overview
Karl Emil Maximilian "Max" Weber (ˈmaks ˈveːbɐ; 21 April 1864 – 14 June 1920) was a German sociologist
Sociology
Sociology is the study of society. It is a social science—a term with which it is sometimes synonymous—which uses various methods of empirical investigation and critical analysis to develop a body of knowledge about human social activity...

 and political economist
Political economy
Political economy originally was the term for studying production, buying, and selling, and their relations with law, custom, and government, as well as with the distribution of national income and wealth, including through the budget process. Political economy originated in moral philosophy...

 who profoundly influenced social theory
Social theory
Social theories are theoretical frameworks which are used to study and interpret social phenomena within a particular school of thought. An essential tool used by social scientists, theories relate to historical debates over the most valid and reliable methodologies , as well as the primacy of...

, social research
Social research
Social research refers to research conducted by social scientists. Social research methods may be divided into two broad categories:* Quantitative designs approach social phenomena through quantifiable evidence, and often rely on statistical analysis of many cases to create valid and reliable...

, and the discipline of sociology itself. He was a key proponent of methodological antipositivism
Antipositivism
Antipositivism is the view in social science that the social realm may not be subject to the same methods of investigation as the natural world; that academics must reject empiricism and the scientific method in the conduct of research...

, presenting sociology as a non-empiricist
Empiricism
Empiricism is a theory of knowledge that asserts that knowledge comes only or primarily via sensory experience. One of several views of epistemology, the study of human knowledge, along with rationalism, idealism and historicism, empiricism emphasizes the role of experience and evidence,...

 field which must study social action through interpretive means
Verstehen
Verstehen is an ordinary German word with exactly the same meaning as the English word "understand". However, since the late 19th century in the context of German philosophy and social sciences, it has also been used in the special sense of "interpretive or participatory examination" of social...

 based upon understanding the meanings and purposes that individuals attach to their own actions.
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Quotations

The Truth is the Truth.

Last words, as quoted in Prophets of Yesterday : Studies in European Culture, 1890-1914 (1961) by Gerhard Masur, p. 201
Encyclopedia
Karl Emil Maximilian "Max" Weber (ˈmaks ˈveːbɐ; 21 April 1864 – 14 June 1920) was a German sociologist
Sociology
Sociology is the study of society. It is a social science—a term with which it is sometimes synonymous—which uses various methods of empirical investigation and critical analysis to develop a body of knowledge about human social activity...

 and political economist
Political economy
Political economy originally was the term for studying production, buying, and selling, and their relations with law, custom, and government, as well as with the distribution of national income and wealth, including through the budget process. Political economy originated in moral philosophy...

 who profoundly influenced social theory
Social theory
Social theories are theoretical frameworks which are used to study and interpret social phenomena within a particular school of thought. An essential tool used by social scientists, theories relate to historical debates over the most valid and reliable methodologies , as well as the primacy of...

, social research
Social research
Social research refers to research conducted by social scientists. Social research methods may be divided into two broad categories:* Quantitative designs approach social phenomena through quantifiable evidence, and often rely on statistical analysis of many cases to create valid and reliable...

, and the discipline of sociology itself. He was a key proponent of methodological antipositivism
Antipositivism
Antipositivism is the view in social science that the social realm may not be subject to the same methods of investigation as the natural world; that academics must reject empiricism and the scientific method in the conduct of research...

, presenting sociology as a non-empiricist
Empiricism
Empiricism is a theory of knowledge that asserts that knowledge comes only or primarily via sensory experience. One of several views of epistemology, the study of human knowledge, along with rationalism, idealism and historicism, empiricism emphasizes the role of experience and evidence,...

 field which must study social action through interpretive means
Verstehen
Verstehen is an ordinary German word with exactly the same meaning as the English word "understand". However, since the late 19th century in the context of German philosophy and social sciences, it has also been used in the special sense of "interpretive or participatory examination" of social...

 based upon understanding the meanings and purposes that individuals attach to their own actions. Weber is often cited, with Émile Durkheim
Émile Durkheim
David Émile Durkheim was a French sociologist. He formally established the academic discipline and, with Karl Marx and Max Weber, is commonly cited as the principal architect of modern social science and father of sociology.Much of Durkheim's work was concerned with how societies could maintain...

 and Karl Marx
Karl Marx
Karl Heinrich Marx was a German philosopher, economist, sociologist, historian, journalist, and revolutionary socialist. His ideas played a significant role in the development of social science and the socialist political movement...

, as one of the three principal architects of modern social science.

Weber's main intellectual concern was understanding the processes of rationalisation, secularization
Secularization
Secularization is the transformation of a society from close identification with religious values and institutions toward non-religious values and secular institutions...

, and "disenchantment
Disenchantment
Disenchantment is a term in the social sciences used to describe the cultural rationalization and devaluation of mysticism apparent in modern society...

" that he associated with the rise of capitalism
Capitalism
Capitalism is an economic system that became dominant in the Western world following the demise of feudalism. There is no consensus on the precise definition nor on how the term should be used as a historical category...

 and modernity
Modernity
Modernity typically refers to a post-traditional, post-medieval historical period, one marked by the move from feudalism toward capitalism, industrialization, secularization, rationalization, the nation-state and its constituent institutions and forms of surveillance...

. Weber is perhaps best known for his thesis combining economic sociology
Economic sociology
Economic sociology studies both the social effects and the social causes of various economic phenomena. The field can be broadly divided into a classical period and a contemporary one. The classical period was concerned particularly with modernity and its constituent aspects...

 and the sociology of religion
Sociology of religion
The sociology of religion concerns the role of religion in society: practices, historical backgrounds, developments and universal themes. There is particular emphasis on the recurring role of religion in all societies and throughout recorded history...

, elaborated in his book The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism
The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism
The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism is a book written by Max Weber, a German sociologist, economist, and politician. Begun as a series of essays, the original German text was composed in 1904 and 1905, and was translated into English for the first time by Talcott Parsons in 1930...

. Weber proposed that ascetic Protestantism
Protestantism
Protestantism is one of the three major groupings within Christianity. It is a movement that began in Germany in the early 16th century as a reaction against medieval Roman Catholic doctrines and practices, especially in regards to salvation, justification, and ecclesiology.The doctrines of the...

 was one of the major "elective affinities" associated with the rise of capitalism
Capitalism
Capitalism is an economic system that became dominant in the Western world following the demise of feudalism. There is no consensus on the precise definition nor on how the term should be used as a historical category...

, bureaucracy
Bureaucracy
A bureaucracy is an organization of non-elected officials of a governmental or organization who implement the rules, laws, and functions of their institution, and are occasionally characterized by officialism and red tape.-Weberian bureaucracy:...

 and the rational-legal nation-state
Nation-state
The nation state is a state that self-identifies as deriving its political legitimacy from serving as a sovereign entity for a nation as a sovereign territorial unit. The state is a political and geopolitical entity; the nation is a cultural and/or ethnic entity...

 in the Western world
Western world
The Western world, also known as the West and the Occident , is a term referring to the countries of Western Europe , the countries of the Americas, as well all countries of Northern and Central Europe, Australia and New Zealand...

. Against Marx's "historical materialism
Historical materialism
Historical materialism is a methodological approach to the study of society, economics, and history, first articulated by Karl Marx as "the materialist conception of history". Historical materialism looks for the causes of developments and changes in human society in the means by which humans...

," Weber emphasised the importance of cultural influences embedded in religion as a means for understanding the genesis of capitalism. The Protestant Ethic formed the earliest part in Weber's broader investigations into world religion: he would go on to examine the religions of China
The Religion of China: Confucianism and Taoism
The Religion of China: Confucianism and Taoism is a book written by Max Weber, a German economist and sociologist. It was first published in German under the title Konfuzianismus und Taoismus in 1915 and an adapted version appeared in 1920...

, the religions of India
The Religion of India: The Sociology of Hinduism and Buddhism
The Religion of India: The Sociology of Hinduism and Butthism, also known as just The Religion of India, is a book on the sociology of religion written by Maximilian Weber, a German economist and sociologist of the early twentieth century. The original edition was in German...

 and ancient Judaism
Ancient Judaism (book)
Ancient Judaism, also known as Ancient Palestine: Society and Religion, is a book written by Max Weber, a German economist and sociologist, in early the 20th century. The original edition was in German - the essays on Ancient Judaism appeared originally in the 1917–1919 issues of the Archiv fur...

, with particular regard to the apparent non-development of capitalism in the corresponding societies, as well as to their differing forms of social stratification
Social stratification
In sociology the social stratification is a concept of class, involving the "classification of persons into groups based on shared socio-economic conditions ... a relational set of inequalities with economic, social, political and ideological dimensions."...

.

In another major work, Politics as a Vocation
Politics as a Vocation
Politics as a Vocation is an essay by German economist and sociologist Max Weber. It originated in a lecture he gave to the Free Students Union of Munich University, in January 1919, during the German Revolution....

, Weber defined the state
State (polity)
A state is an organized political community, living under a government. States may be sovereign and may enjoy a monopoly on the legal initiation of force and are not dependent on, or subject to any other power or state. Many states are federated states which participate in a federal union...

 as an entity which successfully claims a "monopoly on the legitimate use of violence". He was also the first to categorize social authority into distinct forms, which he labelled as charismatic, traditional, and rational-legal. His analysis of bureaucracy
Bureaucracy
A bureaucracy is an organization of non-elected officials of a governmental or organization who implement the rules, laws, and functions of their institution, and are occasionally characterized by officialism and red tape.-Weberian bureaucracy:...

 emphasised that modern state institutions are increasingly based on rational-legal authority
Rational-legal authority
Rational-legal authority is a form of leadership in which the authority of an organization or a ruling regime is largely tied to legal rationality, legal legitimacy and bureaucracy...

. Weber also made a variety of other contributions in economic history
Economic history
Economic history is the study of economies or economic phenomena in the past. Analysis in economic history is undertaken using a combination of historical methods, statistical methods and by applying economic theory to historical situations and institutions...

, as well as economic theory and methodology. Weber's thought on modernity and rationalisation would come to facilitate critical theory
Critical theory
Critical theory is an examination and critique of society and culture, drawing from knowledge across the social sciences and humanities. The term has two different meanings with different origins and histories: one originating in sociology and the other in literary criticism...

 of the Frankfurt school
Frankfurt School
The Frankfurt School refers to a school of neo-Marxist interdisciplinary social theory, particularly associated with the Institute for Social Research at the University of Frankfurt am Main...

.

After the First World War
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

, Max Weber was among the founders of the liberal German Democratic Party. He also ran unsuccessfully for a seat in parliament and served as advisor to the committee that drafted the ill-fated democratic Weimar Constitution
Weimar constitution
The Constitution of the German Reich , usually known as the Weimar Constitution was the constitution that governed Germany during the Weimar Republic...

 of 1919. After contracting the Spanish flu, he died of pneumonia
Pneumonia
Pneumonia is an inflammatory condition of the lung—especially affecting the microscopic air sacs —associated with fever, chest symptoms, and a lack of air space on a chest X-ray. Pneumonia is typically caused by an infection but there are a number of other causes...

 in 1920, aged 56.

Early life and family background


Weber was born in 1864, in Erfurt
Erfurt
Erfurt is the capital city of Thuringia and the main city nearest to the geographical centre of Germany, located 100 km SW of Leipzig, 150 km N of Nuremberg and 180 km SE of Hannover. Erfurt Airport can be reached by plane via Munich. It lies in the southern part of the Thuringian...

, Thuringia
Thuringia
The Free State of Thuringia is a state of Germany, located in the central part of the country.It has an area of and 2.29 million inhabitants, making it the sixth smallest by area and the fifth smallest by population of Germany's sixteen states....

. He was the eldest of the seven children of Max Weber Sr.
Max Weber Sr.
Max Weber was a German lawyer, municipal official and National Liberal politician. He was the father of the social scientist, Max Weber.-Biography:...

, a wealthy and prominent civil servant
Civil service
The term civil service has two distinct meanings:* A branch of governmental service in which individuals are employed on the basis of professional merit as proven by competitive examinations....

 and member of the National Liberal Party
National Liberal Party (Germany)
The National Liberal Party was a German political party which flourished between 1867 and 1918. It was formed by Prussian liberals who put aside their differences with Bismarck over domestic policy due to their support for his highly successful foreign policy, which resulted in the unification of...

, and his wife Helene Fallenstein, who descended from French Huguenot
Huguenot
The Huguenots were members of the Protestant Reformed Church of France during the 16th and 17th centuries. Since the 17th century, people who formerly would have been called Huguenots have instead simply been called French Protestants, a title suggested by their German co-religionists, the...

 immigrants and held strong moral absolutist ideas. Weber Sr.'s involvement in public life immersed his home in both politics and academia, as his salon welcomed many prominent scholars and public figures. The young Weber and his brother Alfred
Alfred Weber
Alfred Weber was a German economist, sociologist and theoretician of culture whose work was influential in the development of modern economic geography.-Life:...

, who also became a sociologist and economist, thrived in this intellectual atmosphere. Weber's 1876 Christmas presents to his parents, when he was thirteen years old, were two historical essays entitled "About the course of German history, with special reference to the positions of the Emperor and the Pope," and "About the Roman Imperial period from Constantine to the migration of nations." In class, bored and unimpressed with the teachers – who in turn resented what they perceived as a disrespectful attitude – he secretly read all forty volumes of Goethe. Before entering the university, he would read many other classical works. Over time, Weber would also be significantly affected by the marital tension between his father, "a man who enjoyed earthly pleasures," and his mother, a devout Calvinist
Calvinism
Calvinism is a Protestant theological system and an approach to the Christian life...

 "who sought to lead an ascetic
Asceticism
Asceticism describes a lifestyle characterized by abstinence from various sorts of worldly pleasures often with the aim of pursuing religious and spiritual goals...

 life."

Education


In 1882 Weber enrolled in the University of Heidelberg as a law student. After a year of military service he transferred to University of Berlin. After his first few years as a student, during which he spent much time "drinking beer and fencing
Academic fencing
Academic fencing or Mensur is the traditional kind of fencing practiced by some student corporations in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and to a minor extent in Kosovo, Estonia, Latvia, Poland and Flanders.- Technique :Modern academic fencing, the "mensur," is neither a duel nor a sport...

," Weber would increasingly take his mother's side in family arguments and grew estranged from his father. Simultaneously with his studies, he worked as a junior barrister
Barrister
A barrister is a member of one of the two classes of lawyer found in many common law jurisdictions with split legal professions. Barristers specialise in courtroom advocacy, drafting legal pleadings and giving expert legal opinions...

. In 1886 Weber passed the examination for Referendar, comparable to the bar association
Bar association
A bar association is a professional body of lawyers. Some bar associations are responsible for the regulation of the legal profession in their jurisdiction; others are professional organizations dedicated to serving their members; in many cases, they are both...

 examination in the British and American legal systems. Throughout the late 1880s, Weber continued his study of law and history. He earned his law doctorate in 1889 by writing a dissertation
Thesis
A dissertation or thesis is a document submitted in support of candidature for an academic degree or professional qualification presenting the author's research and findings...

 on legal history entitled The History of Medieval Business Organisations
Zur Geschichte der Handelsgesellschaften im Mittelalter
Zur Geschichte der Handelgesellschaften im Mittelalter is a doctoral dissertation written by Max Weber, a German economist and sociologist in 1889...

; his advisor was Levin Goldschmidt
Levin Goldschmidt
Levin Goldschmidt was a German jurist.From 1847 to 1851 he pursued his studies at the universities of Berlin, Bonn, and Heidelberg, receiving his doctor's degree in 1851 from the University of Halle...

, a respected authority in commercial law
Commercial law
Commercial law is the body of law that governs business and commercial transactions...

. Two years later, Weber completed his Habilitation
Habilitation
Habilitation is the highest academic qualification a scholar can achieve by his or her own pursuit in several European and Asian countries. Earned after obtaining a research doctorate, such as a PhD, habilitation requires the candidate to write a professorial thesis based on independent...

sschrift, The Roman Agrarian History and its Significance for Public and Private Law, working with August Meitzen
August Meitzen
August Meitzen was a German statistician.-Biography:He was born in Breslau and educated at Heidelberg and Tübingen...

. Having thus become a Privatdozent
Privatdozent
Privatdozent or Private lecturer is a title conferred in some European university systems, especially in German-speaking countries, for someone who pursues an academic career and holds all formal qualifications to become a tenured university professor...

, Weber joined the University of Berlin's faculty, lecturing and consulting for the government.

Early work


In the years between the completion of his dissertation and habilitation, Weber took an interest in contemporary social policy
Social policy
Social policy primarily refers to guidelines, principles, legislation and activities that affect the living conditions conducive to human welfare. Thus, social policy is that part of public policy that has to do with social issues...

. In 1888 he joined the Verein für Socialpolitik
Verein für Socialpolitik
The Verein für Socialpolitik is an important society of economists in the German-speaking area. The Society, which covers all branches of economics was founded in 1873. Among its members were eminent economists like Gustav von Schmoller and Adolph Wagner.It annually awards the Gossen Prize to...

, a new professional association of German economists affiliated with the historical school
Historical school of economics
The Historical school of economics was an approach to academic economics and to public administration that emerged in 19th century in Germany, and held sway there until well into the 20th century....

, who saw the role of economics primarily as finding solutions to the social problems of the age and who pioneered large scale statistical studies of economic issues. He also involved himself in politics, joining the left-leaning Evangelical Social Congress
Evangelical Social Congress
The Evangelical Social Congress was a social-reform movement of German evangelists founded in Whitsuntide in 1890.Various groups were united in the Congress, although, in the end, the Congress failed to set forth a united programme of "Christian socialism" .The Congress never carried a...

. In 1890 the Verein established a research program to examine "the Polish question" or Ostflucht
Ostflucht
The Ostflucht was a movement by residents of the former eastern territories of Germany, such as East Prussia, West Prussia, Silesia and Province of Posen beginning around 1850, to the more industrialized western German Rhine and Ruhr provinces...

: the influx of Polish farm workers into eastern Germany as local labourers migrated to Germany's rapidly industrialising cities. Weber was put in charge of the study and wrote a large part of the final report, which generated considerable attention and controversy and marked the beginning of Weber's renown as a social scientist. From 1893 to 1899 Weber was a member of the Alldeutscher Verband (Pan-German League), an organisation that campaigned against the influx of the Polish workers; the degree of Weber's support for the Germanisation of Poles and similar nationalist policies is still debated by modern scholars.
Also in 1893 he married his distant cousin Marianne Schnitger
Marianne Weber
Marianne Weber, , sociologist, women's rights activist and wife of Max Weber.-Girlhood, 1870-1893:...

, later a feminist
Feminism
Feminism is a collection of movements aimed at defining, establishing, and defending equal political, economic, and social rights and equal opportunities for women. Its concepts overlap with those of women's rights...

 activist and author in her own right, who was instrumental in collecting and publishing Weber's journal articles as books after his death and her biography of him is an important source for understanding Weber's life. They would have no children. The marriage granted long-awaited financial independence to Weber, allowing him to finally leave his parents' household. The couple moved to Freiburg
Freiburg
Freiburg im Breisgau is a city in Baden-Württemberg, Germany. In the extreme south-west of the country, it straddles the Dreisam river, at the foot of the Schlossberg. Historically, the city has acted as the hub of the Breisgau region on the western edge of the Black Forest in the Upper Rhine Plain...

 in 1894, where Weber was appointed professor
Professor
A professor is a scholarly teacher; the precise meaning of the term varies by country. Literally, professor derives from Latin as a "person who professes" being usually an expert in arts or sciences; a teacher of high rank...

 of economics at the university, before accepting the same position at the University of Heidelberg in 1896. There Weber became a central figure in the so-called "Weber Circle," composed of other intellectuals such as his wife Marianne, Georg Jellinek
Georg Jellinek
Georg Jellinek was an Austrian public lawyer. Along with Hans Kelsen and the Hungarian Felix Somlo he belonged to the group of Austrian Legal Positivists and was considered to be "the exponent of public law in Austria“.-Early life:From 1867, Jellinek studied law, history of art and philosophy at...

, Ernst Troeltsch
Ernst Troeltsch
Ernst Troeltsch was a German Protestant theologian and writer on philosophy of religion and philosophy of history, and an influential figure in German thought before 1914...

, Werner Sombart
Werner Sombart
Werner Sombart was a German economist and sociologist, the head of the “Youngest Historical School” and one of the leading Continental European social scientists during the first quarter of the 20th century....

, Marc Bloch
Marc Bloch
Marc Léopold Benjamin Bloch was a French historian who cofounded the highly influential Annales School of French social history. Bloch was a quintessential modernist. An assimilated Alsatian Jew from an academic family in Paris, he was deeply affected in his youth by the Dreyfus Affair...

, Robert Michels
Robert Michels
Robert Michels was a German sociologist who wrote on the political behavior of intellectual elites and contributed to elite theory...

 and György Lukács. Weber also remained active in Verein and the Evangelical Social Congress. His research in that period was focused on economics and legal history.

In 1897 Max Weber Sr. died, two months after a severe quarrel with his son that was never resolved. After this, Weber became increasingly prone to depression
Depression (mood)
Depression is a state of low mood and aversion to activity that can affect a person's thoughts, behaviour, feelings and physical well-being. Depressed people may feel sad, anxious, empty, hopeless, helpless, worthless, guilty, irritable, or restless...

, nervousness and insomnia
Insomnia
Insomnia is most often defined by an individual's report of sleeping difficulties. While the term is sometimes used in sleep literature to describe a disorder demonstrated by polysomnographic evidence of disturbed sleep, insomnia is often defined as a positive response to either of two questions:...

, making it difficult for him to fulfill his duties as a professor. His condition forced him to reduce his teaching and leave unfinished his course in the fall of 1899. After spending months in a sanatorium during the summer and fall of 1900, Weber and his wife travelled to Italy at the end of the year and did not return to Heidelberg until April 1902. He would again withdraw from teaching in 1903 and not return to it till 1919.

Later work


After Weber's immense productivity in the early 1890s, he did not publish any papers between early 1898 and late 1902, finally resigning his professorship in late 1903. Freed from those obligations, in that year he accepted a position as associate editor of the Archives for Social Science and Social Welfare
Archiv für Sozialwissenschaft und Sozialpolitik
The Archiv für Sozialwissenschaft und Sozialpolitik was an academic journal for the social sciences in Germany between 1888 and 1933. Its first editors were Edgar Jaffé, Werner Sombart, and Max Weber...

, where he worked with his colleagues Edgar Jaffé and Werner Sombart
Werner Sombart
Werner Sombart was a German economist and sociologist, the head of the “Youngest Historical School” and one of the leading Continental European social scientists during the first quarter of the 20th century....

. His new interests would lie in more fundamental issues of social sciences; his works from this latter period are of primary interest to modern scholars. In 1904, Weber began to publish some of his most seminal papers in this journal, notably his essay The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism
The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism
The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism is a book written by Max Weber, a German sociologist, economist, and politician. Begun as a series of essays, the original German text was composed in 1904 and 1905, and was translated into English for the first time by Talcott Parsons in 1930...

, which became his most famous work and laid the foundations for his later research on the impact of cultures and religions on the development of economic systems. This essay was the only one of his works from that period that was published as a book during his lifetime. Some other of his works written in the first one and a half decades of the 20th century – published posthumously and dedicated primarily from the fields of sociology of religion, economic and legal sociology – are also recognised as among his most important intellectual contributions.

Also in 1904, he visited the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 and participated in the Congress of Arts and Sciences held in connection with the World's Fair
World's Fair
World's fair, World fair, Universal Exposition, and World Expo are various large public exhibitions held in different parts of the world. The first Expo was held in The Crystal Palace in Hyde Park, London, United Kingdom, in 1851, under the title "Great Exhibition of the Works of Industry of All...

 (Louisiana Purchase Exposition
Louisiana Purchase Exposition
The Louisiana Purchase Exposition, informally known as the Saint Louis World's Fair, was an international exposition held in St. Louis, Missouri, United States in 1904.- Background :...

) in St. Louis
St. Louis, Missouri
St. Louis is an independent city on the eastern border of Missouri, United States. With a population of 319,294, it was the 58th-largest U.S. city at the 2010 U.S. Census. The Greater St...

. Despite his partial recovery, Weber felt that he was unable to resume regular teaching at that time and continued on as a private scholar, helped by an inheritance in 1907. In 1909, disappointed with the Verein, he co-founded the German Sociological Association (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Soziologie, or DGS) and served as its first treasurer. He would, however, resign from the DGS in 1912. In 1912, Weber tried to organise a left-wing political party to combine social-democrats and liberals. This attempt was unsuccessful, in part because many liberals feared social-democratic revolutionary ideals.

Political involvements



At the outbreak of World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

, Weber, aged 50, volunteered for service and was appointed as a reserve officer and put in charge of organising the army hospitals in Heidelberg, a role he fulfilled until the end of 1915. Weber's views on the war and the expansion of the German empire
German colonial empire
The German colonial empire was an overseas domain formed in the late 19th century as part of the German Empire. Short-lived colonial efforts by individual German states had occurred in preceding centuries, but Imperial Germany's colonial efforts began in 1884...

 changed during the course of the conflict. Early on he supported the nationalist rhetoric and the war effort, believing that the fight against the backward and despotic Russian Empire
Russian Empire
The Russian Empire was a state that existed from 1721 until the Russian Revolution of 1917. It was the successor to the Tsardom of Russia and the predecessor of the Soviet Union...

 was justified and that a "liberal imperialism" along the lines of the British model
British Empire
The British Empire comprised the dominions, colonies, protectorates, mandates and other territories ruled or administered by the United Kingdom. It originated with the overseas colonies and trading posts established by England in the late 16th and early 17th centuries. At its height, it was the...

 would help Germany to develop a more mature political class. In time, however, Weber became one of the most prominent critics of German expansionism and of the Kaiser's war policies. He publicly attacked the Belgian annexation policy
Schlieffen Plan
The Schlieffen Plan was the German General Staff's early 20th century overall strategic plan for victory in a possible future war in which the German Empire might find itself fighting on two fronts: France to the west and Russia to the east...

 and unrestricted submarine warfare
Unrestricted submarine warfare
Unrestricted submarine warfare is a type of naval warfare in which submarines sink merchantmen without warning, as opposed to attacks per prize rules...

 and later supported calls for constitutional reform, democratisation and universal suffrage
Universal suffrage
Universal suffrage consists of the extension of the right to vote to adult citizens as a whole, though it may also mean extending said right to minors and non-citizens...

.

Weber joined the worker and soldier council
Workers' council
A workers' council, or revolutionary councils, is the phenomenon where a single place of work or enterprise, such as a factory, school, or farm, is controlled collectively by the workers of that workplace, through the core principle of temporary and instantly revocable delegates.In a system with...

 of Heidelberg in 1918. He then served in the German delegation to the Paris Peace Conference
Paris Peace Conference, 1919
The Paris Peace Conference was the meeting of the Allied victors following the end of World War I to set the peace terms for the defeated Central Powers following the armistices of 1918. It took place in Paris in 1919 and involved diplomats from more than 32 countries and nationalities...

 and as advisor to the Confidential Committee for Constitutional Reform, which drafted the Weimar Constitution
Weimar constitution
The Constitution of the German Reich , usually known as the Weimar Constitution was the constitution that governed Germany during the Weimar Republic...

. Motivated by his understanding of the American
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 model, he advocated a strong, popularly elected
Suffrage
Suffrage, political franchise, or simply the franchise, distinct from mere voting rights, is the civil right to vote gained through the democratic process...

 presidency as a constitutional counter-balance to the power of the professional bureaucracy
Bureaucracy
A bureaucracy is an organization of non-elected officials of a governmental or organization who implement the rules, laws, and functions of their institution, and are occasionally characterized by officialism and red tape.-Weberian bureaucracy:...

. More controversially, he also defended the provisions for emergency presidential powers that became Article 48
Article 48 (Weimar Constitution)
Article 48 of the constitution of the Weimar Republic of Germany allowed the President, under certain circumstances, to take emergency measures without the prior consent of the Reichstag...

 of the Weimar Constitution. These provisions were later used by Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler was an Austrian-born German politician and the leader of the National Socialist German Workers Party , commonly referred to as the Nazi Party). He was Chancellor of Germany from 1933 to 1945, and head of state from 1934 to 1945...

 to subvert the rest of the constitution and institute rule by decree, allowing his regime to suppress opposition and gain dictatorial powers.

Weber also ran, unsuccessfully, for a parliamentary seat, as a member of the liberal German Democratic Party, which he had co-founded. He opposed both the leftist German Revolution of 1918–1919 and the ratification of the Treaty of Versailles
Treaty of Versailles
The Treaty of Versailles was one of the peace treaties at the end of World War I. It ended the state of war between Germany and the Allied Powers. It was signed on 28 June 1919, exactly five years after the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand. The other Central Powers on the German side of...

, a principled position that defied the political alignments in Germany at that time and which may have prevented Friedrich Ebert
Friedrich Ebert
Friedrich Ebert was a German politician of the Social Democratic Party of Germany .When Ebert was elected as the leader of the SPD after the death of August Bebel, the party members of the SPD were deeply divided because of the party's support for World War I. Ebert supported the Burgfrieden and...

, the new social-democratic President of Germany, from appointing Weber as minister or ambassador. Weber commanded widespread respect but relatively little influence. Weber's role in German politics
Weber and German politics
This article is about the political views and activities of the German sociologist Max Weber.Weber described himself as a left-wing liberal. An example of his 19th-century liberal views is staunch nationalism based on classical republicanism, and that a nation with freedom for individuals is...

 remains controversial to this day.

Last years



Frustrated with politics, Weber resumed teaching during this time, first at the University of Vienna
University of Vienna
The University of Vienna is a public university located in Vienna, Austria. It was founded by Duke Rudolph IV in 1365 and is the oldest university in the German-speaking world...

, then, after 1919, at the University of Munich. His lectures from that period were collected into major works, such as the General Economic History
Wirtschaftsgeschichte
Max Weber's Wirtschaftsgeschichte was composed by his students from lecture notes shortly after his death. In his General Economic History, Weber creates an institutional theory of the rise of capitalism in the west. Unlike in his Protestant ethic, religion is given a minor role...

, Science as a Vocation and Politics as a Vocation
Politics as a Vocation
Politics as a Vocation is an essay by German economist and sociologist Max Weber. It originated in a lecture he gave to the Free Students Union of Munich University, in January 1919, during the German Revolution....

. In Munich, he headed the first German university institute of sociology, but never held a professorial position in sociology. Many colleagues and students in Munich attacked his response to the German Revolution and some right-wing students held protests in front of his home. Max Weber contracted the Spanish flu
Spanish flu
The 1918 flu pandemic was an influenza pandemic, and the first of the two pandemics involving H1N1 influenza virus . It was an unusually severe and deadly pandemic that spread across the world. Historical and epidemiological data are inadequate to identify the geographic origin...

 and died of pneumonia
Pneumonia
Pneumonia is an inflammatory condition of the lung—especially affecting the microscopic air sacs —associated with fever, chest symptoms, and a lack of air space on a chest X-ray. Pneumonia is typically caused by an infection but there are a number of other causes...

 in Munich on 14 June 1920. At the time of his death, Weber had not finished writing his magnum opus on sociological theory: Economy and Society
Economy and Society
Economy and Society is a book by political economist and sociologist Max Weber, published posthumously in Germany in 1922 by his wife Marianne. Alongside The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism, it is considered to be one of Weber's most important works...

. His widow Marianne helped prepare it for its publication in 1921–22.

Inspirations


Weber's thinking was strongly influenced by German idealism
German idealism
German idealism was a philosophical movement that emerged in Germany in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. It developed out of the work of Immanuel Kant in the 1780s and 1790s, and was closely linked both with romanticism and the revolutionary politics of the Enlightenment...

 and particularly by neo-Kantianism
Neo-Kantianism
Neo-Kantianism refers broadly to a revived type of philosophy along the lines of that laid down by Immanuel Kant in the 18th century, or more specifically by Schopenhauer's criticism of the Kantian philosophy in his work The World as Will and Representation , as well as by other post-Kantian...

, to which he had been exposed through Heinrich Rickert
Heinrich Rickert
Heinrich John Rickert was a German philosopher, one of the leading Neo-Kantians.-Life:He was born in Danzig, Prussia and died in Heidelberg, Germany.-Thought:...

, his professorial colleague at the University of Freiburg. Especially important to Weber's work is the neo-Kantian belief that reality is essentially chaotic and incomprehensible, with all rational order deriving from the way in which the human mind focuses its attention on certain aspects of reality and organises the resulting perceptions. Weber's opinions regarding the methodology of the social sciences show parallels with the work of contemporary neo-Kantian philosopher and pioneering sociologist Georg Simmel
Georg Simmel
Georg Simmel was a major German sociologist, philosopher, and critic.Simmel was one of the first generation of German sociologists: his neo-Kantian approach laid the foundations for sociological antipositivism, asking 'What is society?' in a direct allusion to Kant's question 'What is nature?',...

.

Weber was also influenced by Kantian ethics, which he nonetheless came to think of as obsolete in a modern age lacking in religious certainties. In this last respect, the influence of Friedrich Nietzsche's philosophy
Philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche
Friedrich Nietzsche developed his philosophy during the late 19th century amid growing criticism of G. W. F. Hegel's philosophic system.Nietzsche owed the awakening of his philosophical interest to reading Arthur Schopenhauer's Die Welt als Wille und Vorstellung and admitted that Schopenhauer was...

 is evident. According to the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, the "deep tension between the Kantian moral imperatives and a Nietzschean diagnosis of the modern cultural world is apparently what gives such a darkly tragic and agnostic shade to Weber's ethical worldview." Though the influence of his mother's Calvinist religiosity is evident throughout Weber's life and work, and though he maintained a deep, life-long interest in the study of religions, Weber was open about the fact that he was personally irreligious.

As a political economist and economic historian, Weber belonged to the "youngest" German historical school of economics
Historical school of economics
The Historical school of economics was an approach to academic economics and to public administration that emerged in 19th century in Germany, and held sway there until well into the 20th century....

, represented by academics such as Gustav von Schmoller
Gustav von Schmoller
Gustav von Schmoller was the leader of the "younger" German historical school of economics.-Life:Schmoller was born in Heilbronn. His father was a Württemberg civil servant. Young Schmoller studied Staatswissenschaften at the University of Tübingen...

 and his student Werner Sombart
Werner Sombart
Werner Sombart was a German economist and sociologist, the head of the “Youngest Historical School” and one of the leading Continental European social scientists during the first quarter of the 20th century....

. But, even though Weber's research interests were very much in line with that school, his views on methodology and the theory of value
Theory of value (economics)
"Theory of value" is a generic term which encompasses all the theories within economics that attempt to explain the exchange value or price of goods and services...

 diverged significantly from those of other German historicists and were closer, in fact, to those of Carl Menger
Carl Menger
Carl Menger was the founder of the Austrian School of economics, famous for contributing to the development of the theory of marginal utility, which contested the cost-of-production theories of value, developed by the classical economists such as Adam Smith and David Ricardo.- Biography :Menger...

 and the Austrian School
Austrian School
The Austrian School of economics is a heterodox school of economic thought. It advocates methodological individualism in interpreting economic developments , the theory that money is non-neutral, the theory that the capital structure of economies consists of heterogeneous goods that have...

, the traditional rivals of the historical school. (See section on Economics.)

Methodology


Unlike some other classical figures (Comte, Durkheim) Weber did not attempt, consciously, to create any specific set of rules governing social sciences in general, or sociology in particular. Compared to Durkheim and Marx, Weber was more focused on individuals and culture and this is clear in his methodology. Whereas Durkheim focused on the society, Weber concentrated on the individuals and their actions (see structure and action discussion) and whereas Marx argued for the primacy of the material world over the world of ideas, Weber valued ideas as motivating actions of individuals, at least in the big picture.

Sociology, for Max Weber, is:
Weber was concerned with the question of objectivity
Objectivity (philosophy)
Objectivity is a central philosophical concept which has been variously defined by sources. A proposition is generally considered to be objectively true when its truth conditions are met and are "mind-independent"—that is, not met by the judgment of a conscious entity or subject.- Objectivism...

 and subjectivity
Subjectivity
Subjectivity refers to the subject and his or her perspective, feelings, beliefs, and desires. In philosophy, the term is usually contrasted with objectivity.-Qualia:...

. Weber distinguished social action from social behaviour, noting that social action must be understood through how individuals subjectively relate to one another. Study of social action through interpretive means
Verstehen
Verstehen is an ordinary German word with exactly the same meaning as the English word "understand". However, since the late 19th century in the context of German philosophy and social sciences, it has also been used in the special sense of "interpretive or participatory examination" of social...

 (Verstehen) must be based upon understanding the subjective meaning and purpose that the individual attaches to their actions. Social actions may have easily identifiable and objective means, but much more subjective ends and the understanding of those ends by a scientists is subject to yet another layer of subjective understanding (that of the scientist). Weber noted that the importance of subjectivity in social sciences makes creation of full-proof, universal laws much more difficult than in natural sciences and that the amount of objective knowledge that social sciences may achieve is precariously limited. Overall, Weber supported the goal of objective science, but he noted that it is an unreachable goal – although one definitely worth striving for.
The principle of "methodological individualism
Methodological individualism
Methodological individualism is the theory that social phenomena can only be accurately explained by showing how they result from the intentional states that motivate the individual actors. The idea has been used to criticize historicism, structural functionalism, and the roles of social class,...

," which holds that social scientists should seek to understand collectivities (such as nations, cultures, governments, churches, corporations, etc.) solely as the result and the context of the actions of individual persons, can be traced to Weber, particularly to the first chapter of Economy and Society
Economy and Society
Economy and Society is a book by political economist and sociologist Max Weber, published posthumously in Germany in 1922 by his wife Marianne. Alongside The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism, it is considered to be one of Weber's most important works...

, in which he argues that only individuals "can be treated as agents in a course of subjectively understandable action." In other words, Weber argued that social phenomena can be understood scientifically only to the extent that they are captured by models of the behaviour of purposeful individuals, models which Weber called "ideal type
Ideal type
Ideal type , also known as pure type, is a typological term most closely associated with antipositivist sociologist Max Weber . For Weber, the conduct of social science depends upon the construction of hypothetical concepts in the abstract...

s," from which actual historical events will necessarily deviate due to accidental and irrational factors. The analytical constructs of an ideal type never exist in reality, but provide objective benchmarks against which real-life constructs can be measured.
Weber's methodology was developed in the context of a wider debate about methodology of social sciences, the Methodenstreit
Methodenstreit
Methodenstreit is a German term referring to an intellectual controversy or debate over epistemology, research methodology, or the way in which academic inquiry is framed or pursued...

. Weber's position was close to historicism
Historicism
Historicism is a mode of thinking that assigns a central and basic significance to a specific context, such as historical period, geographical place and local culture. As such it is in contrast to individualist theories of knowledges such as empiricism and rationalism, which neglect the role of...

, as he understood social actions as being heavily tied to particular historical contexts and its analysis required the understanding of subjective motivations of individuals (social actors). Thus Weber's methodology emphasises the use of comparative historical analysis
Comparative history
Comparative history is the comparison of different societies which existed during the same time period or shared similar cultural conditions. The comparative history of societies emerged as an important specialty among intellectuals in the Enlightenment in the 18th century, as typified by...

. Therefore, Weber was more interested in explaining how a certain outcome was the result of various historical processes rather than predicting an outcome of those processes in the future.

Rationalisation


Many scholars have described rationalisation
Rationalization (sociology)
Rationalization is a term used in sociology to refer to a process in which an increasing number of social actions become based on considerations of teleological efficiency or calculation rather than on motivations derived from morality, emotion, custom, or tradition...

 and the question of individual freedom in an increasingly rational society, as the main theme of Weber's work. This theme was situated in the larger context of the relationship between psychological motivations, cultural values and beliefs (primarily, religion
Religion
Religion is a collection of cultural systems, belief systems, and worldviews that establishes symbols that relate humanity to spirituality and, sometimes, to moral values. Many religions have narratives, symbols, traditions and sacred histories that are intended to give meaning to life or to...

) and the structure of the society (usually determined by the economy
Economy
An economy consists of the economic system of a country or other area; the labor, capital and land resources; and the manufacturing, trade, distribution, and consumption of goods and services of that area...

).

By rationalisation, Weber understood first, the individual cost-benefit calculation, second, the wider, bureaucratic organisation of the organisations and finally, in the more general sense as the opposite of understanding the reality through mystery and magic (disenchantment
Disenchantment
Disenchantment is a term in the social sciences used to describe the cultural rationalization and devaluation of mysticism apparent in modern society...

).
Weber began his studies of the subject in The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism
The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism
The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism is a book written by Max Weber, a German sociologist, economist, and politician. Begun as a series of essays, the original German text was composed in 1904 and 1905, and was translated into English for the first time by Talcott Parsons in 1930...

, in which he argued that the redefinition of the connection between work and piety in Protestantism and especially in ascetic Protestant
Protestantism
Protestantism is one of the three major groupings within Christianity. It is a movement that began in Germany in the early 16th century as a reaction against medieval Roman Catholic doctrines and practices, especially in regards to salvation, justification, and ecclesiology.The doctrines of the...

 denominations
Religious denomination
A religious denomination is a subgroup within a religion that operates under a common name, tradition, and identity.The term describes various Christian denominations...

, particularly Calvinism
Calvinism
Calvinism is a Protestant theological system and an approach to the Christian life...

, shifted human effort towards rational efforts aimed at achieving economic gain. In Protestant religion, Christian piety towards God was expressed through one's secular vocation (secularisation of calling
Calling (religious)
A calling, in the religious sense of the word, is a religious vocation that may be professional or voluntary and, idiosyncratic to different religions, may come from another person, from a divine messenger, or from within oneself.-History:The idea of a vocation or "calling" has played a...

). The rational roots of this doctrine, he argued, soon grew incompatible with and larger than the religious and so the latter were eventually discarded.

Weber continued his investigation into this matter in later works, notably in his studies on bureaucracy
Bureaucracy
A bureaucracy is an organization of non-elected officials of a governmental or organization who implement the rules, laws, and functions of their institution, and are occasionally characterized by officialism and red tape.-Weberian bureaucracy:...

 and on the classification of legitimate authority
Authority
The word Authority is derived mainly from the Latin word auctoritas, meaning invention, advice, opinion, influence, or command. In English, the word 'authority' can be used to mean power given by the state or by academic knowledge of an area .-Authority in Philosophy:In...

 into three types – Rational-legal
Rational-legal authority
Rational-legal authority is a form of leadership in which the authority of an organization or a ruling regime is largely tied to legal rationality, legal legitimacy and bureaucracy...

, traditional
Traditional authority
Traditional authority is a form of leadership in which the authority of an organization or a ruling regime is largely tied to tradition or custom...

 and charismatic
Charismatic authority
The sociologist Max Weber defined charismatic authority as "resting on devotion to the exceptional sanctity, heroism or exemplary character of an individual person, and of the normative patterns or order revealed or ordained by him." Charismatic authority is one of three forms of authority laid out...

 – of which the legitimate (or rational) is the dominant one in the modern world. In these works Weber described what he saw as society's movement towards rationalisation. Similarly, rationalisation could be seen in the economy, with the development of highly rational and calculating capitalism
Capitalism
Capitalism is an economic system that became dominant in the Western world following the demise of feudalism. There is no consensus on the precise definition nor on how the term should be used as a historical category...

. Weber also saw rationalisation as one of the main factors setting the European West apart from the rest of the world. Rationalisation relied on deep changes in ethics, religion, psychology and culture; changes that first took place in the Western civilisation.
Features of rationalisation include increasing knowledge, growing impersonality and enhanced control of social and material life. Weber was ambivalent towards rationalisation; while admitting it was responsible for many advances, in particular, freeing humans from traditional, restrictive and illogical social guidelines, he also criticised it for dehumanising individuals as "cogs in the machine" and curtailing their freedom, trapping them in the bureaucratic iron cage
Iron cage
Iron cage, a sociological concept introduced by Max Weber, refers to the increased rationalization inherent in social life, particularly in Western capitalist societies. The "iron cage" thus traps individuals in systems based purely on teleological efficiency, rational calculation and control...

 of rationality and bureaucracy. Related to rationalisation is the process of disenchantment
Disenchantment
Disenchantment is a term in the social sciences used to describe the cultural rationalization and devaluation of mysticism apparent in modern society...

, in which the world is becoming more explained and less mystical, moving from polytheistic religions to monotheistic ones and finally to the Godless science of modernity
Modernity
Modernity typically refers to a post-traditional, post-medieval historical period, one marked by the move from feudalism toward capitalism, industrialization, secularization, rationalization, the nation-state and its constituent institutions and forms of surveillance...

. Those processes affect all of society, removing "sublime values... from public life" and making art less creative.

In a dystopian critique of rationalisation, Weber notes that modern society is a product of an individualistic drive of the Reformation
Reformation
- Movements :* Protestant Reformation, an attempt by Martin Luther to reform the Roman Catholic Church that resulted in a schism, and grew into a wider movement...

, yet at the same time, the society created in this process is less and less welcoming of individualism.

Sociology of religion


Weber's work in the field of sociology of religion
Sociology of religion
The sociology of religion concerns the role of religion in society: practices, historical backgrounds, developments and universal themes. There is particular emphasis on the recurring role of religion in all societies and throughout recorded history...

 started with the essay The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism
The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism
The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism is a book written by Max Weber, a German sociologist, economist, and politician. Begun as a series of essays, the original German text was composed in 1904 and 1905, and was translated into English for the first time by Talcott Parsons in 1930...

and continued with the analysis of The Religion of China: Confucianism and Taoism
The Religion of China: Confucianism and Taoism
The Religion of China: Confucianism and Taoism is a book written by Max Weber, a German economist and sociologist. It was first published in German under the title Konfuzianismus und Taoismus in 1915 and an adapted version appeared in 1920...

, The Religion of India: The Sociology of Hinduism and Buddhism
The Religion of India: The Sociology of Hinduism and Buddhism
The Religion of India: The Sociology of Hinduism and Butthism, also known as just The Religion of India, is a book on the sociology of religion written by Maximilian Weber, a German economist and sociologist of the early twentieth century. The original edition was in German...

and Ancient Judaism
Ancient Judaism (book)
Ancient Judaism, also known as Ancient Palestine: Society and Religion, is a book written by Max Weber, a German economist and sociologist, in early the 20th century. The original edition was in German - the essays on Ancient Judaism appeared originally in the 1917–1919 issues of the Archiv fur...

. His work on other religions was interrupted by his sudden death in 1920, which prevented him from following Ancient Judaism with studies of Psalms, Book of Jacob
Book of Jacob
The Book of Jacob is the third book of the Book of Mormon. Its full title is The Book of Jacob: The Brother of Nephi. According to the text, it was written by the ancient prophet Jacob, brother of the prophet Nephi, believed to have lived during the 6th century BC.While this book contains some...

, Talmudic Jewry, early Christianity and Islam. His three main themes in the essays were the effect of religious ideas on economic activities, the relation between social stratification
Social stratification
In sociology the social stratification is a concept of class, involving the "classification of persons into groups based on shared socio-economic conditions ... a relational set of inequalities with economic, social, political and ideological dimensions."...

 and religious ideas and the distinguishable characteristics of Western civilisation.

Weber saw religion as one of the core forces in the society. His goal was to find reasons for the different development paths of the cultures of the Occident and the Orient
Orient
The Orient means "the East." It is a traditional designation for anything that belongs to the Eastern world or the Far East, in relation to Europe. In English it is a metonym that means various parts of Asia.- Derivation :...

, although without judging or valuing them, like some of the contemporary thinkers who followed the social Darwinist
Social Darwinism
Social Darwinism is a term commonly used for theories of society that emerged in England and the United States in the 1870s, seeking to apply the principles of Darwinian evolution to sociology and politics...

 paradigm; Weber wanted primarily to explain the distinctive elements of the Western civilisation
Western culture
Western culture, sometimes equated with Western civilization or European civilization, refers to cultures of European origin and is used very broadly to refer to a heritage of social norms, ethical values, traditional customs, religious beliefs, political systems, and specific artifacts and...

. In the analysis of his findings, Weber maintained that Calvinist (and more widely, Protestant) religious ideas had had a major impact on the social innovation
Social innovation
Social innovation refers to new strategies, concepts, ideas and organizations that meet social needs of all kinds - from working conditions and education to community development and health - and that extend and strengthen civil society....

 and development of the economic system of the West, but noted that they were not the only factors in this development. Other notable factors mentioned by Weber included the rationalism
Rationalism
In epistemology and in its modern sense, rationalism is "any view appealing to reason as a source of knowledge or justification" . In more technical terms, it is a method or a theory "in which the criterion of the truth is not sensory but intellectual and deductive"...

 of scientific pursuit, merging observation with mathematics, science of scholarship and jurisprudence, rational systematisation and bureaucratisation of government administration and economic enterprise. In the end, the study of the sociology of religion, according to Weber, focused on one distinguishing part of the Western culture, the decline of beliefs in magic
Magic (paranormal)
Magic is the claimed art of manipulating aspects of reality either by supernatural means or through knowledge of occult laws unknown to science. It is in contrast to science, in that science does not accept anything not subject to either direct or indirect observation, and subject to logical...

, or what he referred to as "disenchantment
Disenchantment
Disenchantment is a term in the social sciences used to describe the cultural rationalization and devaluation of mysticism apparent in modern society...

 of the world".

Weber also proposed a socioevolutionary model of religious change, showing that in general, societies have moved from magic to polytheism
Polytheism
Polytheism is the belief of multiple deities also usually assembled into a pantheon of gods and goddesses, along with their own mythologies and rituals....

, then to pantheism
Pantheism
Pantheism is the view that the Universe and God are identical. Pantheists thus do not believe in a personal, anthropomorphic or creator god. The word derives from the Greek meaning "all" and the Greek meaning "God". As such, Pantheism denotes the idea that "God" is best seen as a process of...

, monotheism
Monotheism
Monotheism is the belief in the existence of one and only one god. Monotheism is characteristic of the Baha'i Faith, Christianity, Druzism, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, Samaritanism, Sikhism and Zoroastrianism.While they profess the existence of only one deity, monotheistic religions may still...

 and finally, ethical monotheism
Ethical Monotheism
Ethical monotheism is a term used to describe the belief in a God who guides humanity through ethical principles. This can be seen as distinct from monotheistic beliefs which may be based on dogma or doctrines....

. According to Weber, this evolution occurred as the growing economic stability allowed professionalisation and the evolution of ever more sophisticated priesthood. As societies grew more complex and encompassed different groups, a hierarchy of gods developed and as power in the society became more centralised, the concept of a single, universal God became more popular and desirable.

The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism




Weber's essay The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism is his most famous work. It is argued that this work should not be viewed as a detailed study of Protestantism, but rather as an introduction into Weber's later works, especially his studies of interaction between various religious ideas and economic behaviour as part of the rationalisation of the economic system
Economic system
An economic system is the combination of the various agencies, entities that provide the economic structure that defines the social community. These agencies are joined by lines of trade and exchange along which goods, money etc. are continuously flowing. An example of such a system for a closed...

. In The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism, Weber put forward the thesis that Calvinist ethic
Calvinism
Calvinism is a Protestant theological system and an approach to the Christian life...

 and ideas influenced the development of capitalism. He noted the post-Reformation shift of Europe's economic centre away from Catholic countries such as France, Spain and Italy, and toward Protestant countries such as the Netherlands, England, Scotland and Germany. Weber also noted that societies having more Protestants were those with a more highly developed capitalist economy. Similarly, in societies with different religions, most successful business leaders were Protestant. Weber thus argued that Roman Catholicism impeded the development of the capitalist economy in the West, as did other religions such as Confucianism
Confucianism
Confucianism is a Chinese ethical and philosophical system developed from the teachings of the Chinese philosopher Confucius . Confucianism originated as an "ethical-sociopolitical teaching" during the Spring and Autumn Period, but later developed metaphysical and cosmological elements in the Han...

 and Buddhism
Buddhism
Buddhism is a religion and philosophy encompassing a variety of traditions, beliefs and practices, largely based on teachings attributed to Siddhartha Gautama, commonly known as the Buddha . The Buddha lived and taught in the northeastern Indian subcontinent some time between the 6th and 4th...

 elsewhere in the world.
Christian religious devotion had historically been accompanied by rejection of mundane affairs, including economic pursuit. Weber showed that certain types of Protestantism – notably Calvinism
Calvinism
Calvinism is a Protestant theological system and an approach to the Christian life...

 – were supportive of rational pursuit of economic gain and worldly activities dedicated to it, seeing them as endowed with moral and spiritual significance. Weber argued that there were many reasons to look for the origins of modern capitalism in the religious ideas of the Reformation
Protestant Reformation
The Protestant Reformation was a 16th-century split within Western Christianity initiated by Martin Luther, John Calvin and other early Protestants. The efforts of the self-described "reformers", who objected to the doctrines, rituals and ecclesiastical structure of the Roman Catholic Church, led...

. In particular, the Protestant ethic (or more specifically, Calvinist ethic) motivated the believers to work hard, be successful in business and reinvest their profits in further development rather than frivolous pleasures. The notion of calling
Calling (religious)
A calling, in the religious sense of the word, is a religious vocation that may be professional or voluntary and, idiosyncratic to different religions, may come from another person, from a divine messenger, or from within oneself.-History:The idea of a vocation or "calling" has played a...

 meant that each individual had to take action in order to be saved; just being a member of the Church was not enough. Predestination
Predestination
Predestination, in theology is the doctrine that all events have been willed by God. John Calvin interpreted biblical predestination to mean that God willed eternal damnation for some people and salvation for others...

 also reduced antagonising over economic inequality
Economic inequality
Economic inequality comprises all disparities in the distribution of economic assets and income. The term typically refers to inequality among individuals and groups within a society, but can also refer to inequality among countries. The issue of economic inequality is related to the ideas of...

 and further, it meant that a material wealth could be taken as a sign of salvation
Salvation
Within religion salvation is the phenomenon of being saved from the undesirable condition of bondage or suffering experienced by the psyche or soul that has arisen as a result of unskillful or immoral actions generically referred to as sins. Salvation may also be called "deliverance" or...

 in the afterlife. The believers thus justified pursuit of profit with religion, as instead of being fuelled by morally suspect greed or ambition, their actions were motivated by a highly moral and respected philosophy. This Weber called the "spirit of capitalism": it was the Protestant religious ideology that was behind – and inevitably lead to – the capitalist economic system. This theory is often viewed as a reversal of Marx's thesis that the economic "base"
Base and superstructure
In Marxist theory, human society consists of two parts: the base and superstructure; the base comprehends the forces and relations of production — employer-employee work conditions, the technical division of labour, and property relations — into which people enter to produce the necessities and...

 of society determines all other aspects of it.

Weber abandoned research into Protestantism because his colleague Ernst Troeltsch
Ernst Troeltsch
Ernst Troeltsch was a German Protestant theologian and writer on philosophy of religion and philosophy of history, and an influential figure in German thought before 1914...

, a professional theologian
Theology
Theology is the systematic and rational study of religion and its influences and of the nature of religious truths, or the learned profession acquired by completing specialized training in religious studies, usually at a university or school of divinity or seminary.-Definition:Augustine of Hippo...

, had begun work on the book The Social Teachings of the Christian Churches and Sects. Another reason for Weber's decision was that Troeltsch's work already achieved what he desired in that area: laying the groundwork for a comparative analysis of religion and society.

The phrase "work ethic
Protestant work ethic
The Protestant work ethic is a concept in sociology, economics and history, attributable to the work of Max Weber...

" used in modern commentary is a derivative of the "Protestant ethic" discussed by Weber. It was adopted when the idea of the Protestant ethic was generalised to apply to the Japanese people, Jews and other non-Christians and thus lost its religious connotations.

The Religion of China: Confucianism and Taoism



The Religion of China: Confucianism and Taoism was Weber's second major work on the sociology of religion. Weber focused on those aspects of Chinese society that were different from those of Western Europe, especially those aspects which contrasted with Puritanism. His work also questioned why capitalism did not develop in China. He focused on the issues of Chinese urban development, Chinese patrimonialism
Patrimonialism
Patrimonialism is a form of governance in which all power flows directly from the leader. This constitutes essentially the blending of the public and private sector. These regimes are autocratic or oligarchic and exclude the upper and middle classes from power. The leaders of these countries...

 and officialdom and Chinese religion
Religion in China
Religion in China has been characterized by pluralism since the beginning of Chinese history. The Chinese religions are family-oriented and do not demand the exclusive adherence of members. Some scholars doubt the use of the term "religion" in reference to Buddhism and Taoism, and suggest "cultural...

 and philosophy (primarily, Confucianism
Confucianism
Confucianism is a Chinese ethical and philosophical system developed from the teachings of the Chinese philosopher Confucius . Confucianism originated as an "ethical-sociopolitical teaching" during the Spring and Autumn Period, but later developed metaphysical and cosmological elements in the Han...

 and Taoism
Taoism
Taoism refers to a philosophical or religious tradition in which the basic concept is to establish harmony with the Tao , which is the mechanism of everything that exists...

), as the areas in which Chinese development differed most distinctively from the European route.

According to Weber, Confucianism and Puritanism are mutually exclusive types of rational thought
Rationalization (sociology)
Rationalization is a term used in sociology to refer to a process in which an increasing number of social actions become based on considerations of teleological efficiency or calculation rather than on motivations derived from morality, emotion, custom, or tradition...

, each attempting to prescribe a way of life based on religious dogma. Notably, they both valued self control and restraint and did not oppose accumulation of wealth. However, to both those qualities were just means to the final goal and here they were divided by a key difference. Confucianism's goal was "a cultured status position", while Puritanism's goal was to create individuals who are "tools of God". The intensity of belief and enthusiasm for action were rare in Confucianism, but common in Protestantism. Actively working for wealth was unbecoming a proper Confucian. Therefore, Weber states that it was this difference in social attitudes and mentality, shaped by the respective, dominant religions, that contributed to the development of capitalism in the West and the absence of it in China.

The Religion of India: The Sociology of Hinduism and Buddhism



The Religion of India: The Sociology of Hinduism and Buddhism was Weber's third major work on the sociology of religion. In this work he deals with the structure of Indian society, with the orthodox
Orthodoxy
The word orthodox, from Greek orthos + doxa , is generally used to mean the adherence to accepted norms, more specifically to creeds, especially in religion...

 doctrines of Hinduism
Hinduism
Hinduism is the predominant and indigenous religious tradition of the Indian Subcontinent. Hinduism is known to its followers as , amongst many other expressions...

 and the heterodox doctrines of Buddhism
Buddhism
Buddhism is a religion and philosophy encompassing a variety of traditions, beliefs and practices, largely based on teachings attributed to Siddhartha Gautama, commonly known as the Buddha . The Buddha lived and taught in the northeastern Indian subcontinent some time between the 6th and 4th...

, with modifications brought by the influence of popular religiosity and finally with the impact of religious beliefs on the secular ethic of Indian society. Like Confucianism in China, for Weber, Hinduism in India was a barrier for capitalism. The Indian caste system
Caste system in India
The Indian caste system is a system of social stratification and social restriction in India in which communities are defined by thousands of endogamous hereditary groups called Jātis....

 made it very difficult for individuals to advance in the society beyond their caste. Activity, including economic activity, was seen as unimportant in the context of the advancement of the soul.

Weber ended his research of society and religion in India by bringing in insights from his previous work on China
The Religion of China: Confucianism and Taoism
The Religion of China: Confucianism and Taoism is a book written by Max Weber, a German economist and sociologist. It was first published in German under the title Konfuzianismus und Taoismus in 1915 and an adapted version appeared in 1920...

 to discuss similarities of the Asian belief systems. He notes that the beliefs saw the meaning of life as otherworldly mystical
Mysticism
Mysticism is the knowledge of, and especially the personal experience of, states of consciousness, i.e. levels of being, beyond normal human perception, including experience and even communion with a supreme being.-Classical origins:...

 experience. The social world is fundamentally divided between the educated elite, following the guidance of a prophet
Prophet
In religion, a prophet, from the Greek word προφήτης profitis meaning "foreteller", is an individual who is claimed to have been contacted by the supernatural or the divine, and serves as an intermediary with humanity, delivering this newfound knowledge from the supernatural entity to other people...

 or wise man and the uneducated masses whose beliefs are centered on magic. In Asia, there was no Messianic prophecy to give plan and meaning to the everyday life of educated and uneducated alike. Weber juxtaposed such Messianic prophecies (also called ethical prophecies), notably from the Near East
Near East
The Near East is a geographical term that covers different countries for geographers, archeologists, and historians, on the one hand, and for political scientists, economists, and journalists, on the other...

 region to the exemplary prophecies found on the Asia
Asia
Asia is the world's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the eastern and northern hemispheres. It covers 8.7% of the Earth's total surface area and with approximately 3.879 billion people, it hosts 60% of the world's current human population...

tic mainland, focused more on reaching to the educated elites and enlightening them on the proper ways to live one's life, usually with little emphasis on hard work and the material world. It was those differences that prevented the countries of the Occident from following the paths of the earlier Chinese and Indian civilisations. His next work, Ancient Judaism
Ancient Judaism (book)
Ancient Judaism, also known as Ancient Palestine: Society and Religion, is a book written by Max Weber, a German economist and sociologist, in early the 20th century. The original edition was in German - the essays on Ancient Judaism appeared originally in the 1917–1919 issues of the Archiv fur...

 was an attempt to prove this theory.

Ancient Judaism



In Ancient Judaism
Ancient Judaism (book)
Ancient Judaism, also known as Ancient Palestine: Society and Religion, is a book written by Max Weber, a German economist and sociologist, in early the 20th century. The original edition was in German - the essays on Ancient Judaism appeared originally in the 1917–1919 issues of the Archiv fur...

, his fourth major work on the sociology of religion, Weber attempted to explain the factors which resulted in the early differences between Oriental and Occidental
Western culture
Western culture, sometimes equated with Western civilization or European civilization, refers to cultures of European origin and is used very broadly to refer to a heritage of social norms, ethical values, traditional customs, religious beliefs, political systems, and specific artifacts and...

 religiosity
Religiosity
Religiosity, in its broadest sense, is a comprehensive sociological term used to refer to the numerous aspects of religious activity, dedication, and belief . Another term that would work equally well, though is less often used, is religiousness...

. He contrasted the innerworldly asceticism
Asceticism
Asceticism describes a lifestyle characterized by abstinence from various sorts of worldly pleasures often with the aim of pursuing religious and spiritual goals...

 developed by Western Christianity with mystical contemplation of the kind developed in India. Weber noted that some aspects of Christianity sought to conquer and change the world, rather than withdraw from its imperfections. This fundamental characteristic of Christianity (when compared to Far Eastern religions) stems originally from ancient Jewish prophecy
Prophecy
Prophecy is a process in which one or more messages that have been communicated to a prophet are then communicated to others. Such messages typically involve divine inspiration, interpretation, or revelation of conditioned events to come as well as testimonies or repeated revelations that the...

.

Weber noted that Judaism not only fathered Christianity and Islam, but was crucial to the rise of the modern Occidental state; Judaism's influence was as important as Hellenistic and Roman cultures.

Weber's premature death in 1920 prevented him from following his planned analysis of Psalms, the Book of Jacob
Book of Jacob
The Book of Jacob is the third book of the Book of Mormon. Its full title is The Book of Jacob: The Brother of Nephi. According to the text, it was written by the ancient prophet Jacob, brother of the prophet Nephi, believed to have lived during the 6th century BC.While this book contains some...

, Talmudic Jewry, early Christianity
Christianity
Christianity is a monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus as presented in canonical gospels and other New Testament writings...

 and Islam
Islam
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

.

Politics and government


In political sociology
Political sociology
Contemporary political sociology involves much more than the study of the relations between state and society . Where a typical research question in political sociology might have been: "Why do so few American citizens choose to vote?" or even, "What difference does it make if women get elected?" ...

, one of Weber's most significant contributions is his Politics as a Vocation
Politics as a Vocation
Politics as a Vocation is an essay by German economist and sociologist Max Weber. It originated in a lecture he gave to the Free Students Union of Munich University, in January 1919, during the German Revolution....

essay. Therein, Weber unveils the definition of the state
State (polity)
A state is an organized political community, living under a government. States may be sovereign and may enjoy a monopoly on the legal initiation of force and are not dependent on, or subject to any other power or state. Many states are federated states which participate in a federal union...

 as that entity which possesses a delegatable monopoly on the legitimate use of physical force. Weber wrote that politics is the sharing of state's power between various groups, and political leaders are those who wield this power. A politician must not be a man of the "true Christian ethic", understood by Weber as being the ethic of the Sermon on the Mount
Sermon on the Mount
The Sermon on the Mount is a collection of sayings and teachings of Jesus, which emphasizes his moral teaching found in the Gospel of Matthew...

, that is to say, the injunction to turn the other cheek. An adherent of such an ethic ought rather to be understood to be a saint
Saint
A saint is a holy person. In various religions, saints are people who are believed to have exceptional holiness.In Christian usage, "saint" refers to any believer who is "in Christ", and in whom Christ dwells, whether in heaven or in earth...

, for it is only saints, according to Weber, that can appropriately follow it. The political realm is no realm for saints; a politician ought to marry the ethic of ultimate ends and the ethic of responsibility and must possess both a passion for his vocation and the capacity to distance himself from the subject of his exertions (the governed).

Weber distinguished three ideal type
Ideal type
Ideal type , also known as pure type, is a typological term most closely associated with antipositivist sociologist Max Weber . For Weber, the conduct of social science depends upon the construction of hypothetical concepts in the abstract...

s of political leadership (alternatively referred to as three types of domination, legitimisation or authority):
  1. charismatic domination (familial
    Family
    In human context, a family is a group of people affiliated by consanguinity, affinity, or co-residence. In most societies it is the principal institution for the socialization of children...

     and religious),
  2. traditional domination (patriarch
    Patriarch
    Originally a patriarch was a man who exercised autocratic authority as a pater familias over an extended family. The system of such rule of families by senior males is called patriarchy. This is a Greek word, a compound of πατριά , "lineage, descent", esp...

    s, patrimonialism
    Patriarchy
    Patriarchy is a social system in which the role of the male as the primary authority figure is central to social organization, and where fathers hold authority over women, children, and property. It implies the institutions of male rule and privilege, and entails female subordination...

    , feudalism
    Feudalism
    Feudalism was a set of legal and military customs in medieval Europe that flourished between the 9th and 15th centuries, which, broadly defined, was a system for ordering society around relationships derived from the holding of land in exchange for service or labour.Although derived from the...

    ) and
  3. legal domination (modern law and state, bureaucracy
    Bureaucracy
    A bureaucracy is an organization of non-elected officials of a governmental or organization who implement the rules, laws, and functions of their institution, and are occasionally characterized by officialism and red tape.-Weberian bureaucracy:...

    ).

In his view, every historical relation between rulers and ruled contained such elements and they can be analysed on the basis of this tripartite distinction
Tripartite classification of authority
Max Weber distinguished three ideal types of legitimate political leadership, domination and authority:# charismatic authority ,# traditional authority and...

. He notes that the instability of charismatic authority forces it to "routinise" into a more structured form of authority. In a pure type of traditional rule, sufficient resistance to a ruler can lead to a "traditional revolution". The move towards a rational-legal structure of authority, utilising a bureaucratic structure, is inevitable in the end. Thus this theory can be sometimes viewed as part of the social evolutionism theory. This ties to his broader concept of rationalisation
Rationalization (sociology)
Rationalization is a term used in sociology to refer to a process in which an increasing number of social actions become based on considerations of teleological efficiency or calculation rather than on motivations derived from morality, emotion, custom, or tradition...

 by suggesting the inevitability of a move in this direction.
Weber described many ideal types of public administration and government in his masterpiece Economy and Society
Economy and Society
Economy and Society is a book by political economist and sociologist Max Weber, published posthumously in Germany in 1922 by his wife Marianne. Alongside The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism, it is considered to be one of Weber's most important works...

(1922). His critical study of the bureaucratisation of society became one of the most enduring parts of his work. It was Weber who began the studies of bureaucracy and whose works led to the popularisation of this term. Many aspects of modern public administration
Public administration
Public Administration houses the implementation of government policy and an academic discipline that studies this implementation and that prepares civil servants for this work. As a "field of inquiry with a diverse scope" its "fundamental goal.....

 go back to him and a classic, hierarchically organised civil service
Civil service
The term civil service has two distinct meanings:* A branch of governmental service in which individuals are employed on the basis of professional merit as proven by competitive examinations....

 of the Continental type is called "Weberian civil service". As the most efficient and rational way of organising, bureaucratisation for Weber was the key part of the rational-legal authority and furthermore, he saw it as the key process in the ongoing rationalisation of the Western society.

Weber listed several preconditions for the emergence of the bureaucracy: The growth in space and population being administered, the growth in complexity of the administrative tasks being carried out and the existence of a monetary economy – these resulted in a need for a more efficient administrative system. Development of communication and transportation technologies made more efficient administration possible (and popularly requested) and democratisation and rationalisation of culture resulted in demands that the new system treat everybody equally.

Weber's ideal bureaucracy is characterised by hierarchical organisation, by delineated lines of authority in a fixed area of activity, by action taken (and recorded) on the basis of written rules, by bureaucratic officials needing expert training, by rules being implemented neutrally and by career advancement depending on technical qualifications judged by organisations, not by individuals.
While recognising bureaucracy as the most efficient form of organisation and even indispensable for the modern state, Weber also saw it as a threat to individual freedoms and the ongoing bureaucratisation as leading to a "polar night of icy darkness", in which increasing rationalisation of human life traps individuals in the aforementioned "iron cage
Iron cage
Iron cage, a sociological concept introduced by Max Weber, refers to the increased rationalization inherent in social life, particularly in Western capitalist societies. The "iron cage" thus traps individuals in systems based purely on teleological efficiency, rational calculation and control...

" of bureaucratic, rule-based, rational control. In order to counteract bureaucrats, the system needs entrepreneurs and politicians.

Social stratification


Weber also formulated a three-component theory of stratification
Three-component theory of stratification
The three-component theory of stratification, more widely known as Weberian Stratification or Three Class System, was developed by German sociologist Max Weber with class, status and party as distinct ideal types. Weber developed a multidimensional approach to Social stratification that reflects...

, with Social class
Social class
Social classes are economic or cultural arrangements of groups in society. Class is an essential object of analysis for sociologists, political scientists, economists, anthropologists and social historians. In the social sciences, social class is often discussed in terms of 'social stratification'...

, Social status
Social status
In sociology or anthropology, social status is the honor or prestige attached to one's position in society . It may also refer to a rank or position that one holds in a group, for example son or daughter, playmate, pupil, etc....

 and Political party
Political party
A political party is a political organization that typically seeks to influence government policy, usually by nominating their own candidates and trying to seat them in political office. Parties participate in electoral campaigns, educational outreach or protest actions...

 as conceptually distinct elements.
  • Social class
    Social class
    Social classes are economic or cultural arrangements of groups in society. Class is an essential object of analysis for sociologists, political scientists, economists, anthropologists and social historians. In the social sciences, social class is often discussed in terms of 'social stratification'...

     is based on economically determined relationship to the market
    Market
    A market is one of many varieties of systems, institutions, procedures, social relations and infrastructures whereby parties engage in exchange. While parties may exchange goods and services by barter, most markets rely on sellers offering their goods or services in exchange for money from buyers...

     (owner, renter
    Renting
    Renting is an agreement where a payment is made for the temporary use of a good, service or property owned by another. A gross lease is when the tenant pays a flat rental amount and the landlord pays for all property charges regularly incurred by the ownership from landowners...

    , employee etc.).
  • Status class
    Status class
    The German sociologist Max Weber formulated a three-component theory of stratification in which he defines status group as a group of people that can be differentiated on the basis of non-economical qualities like honour, prestige and religion...

     is based on non-economical qualities like honour
    Honour
    Honour or honor is an abstract concept entailing a perceived quality of worthiness and respectability that affects both the social standing and the self-evaluation of an individual or corporate body such as a family, school, regiment or nation...

    , prestige and religion.
  • Party class
    Party class
    The sociologist Max Weber formulated a three-component theory of stratification in which he defines party class as a group of people that can be differentiated on the basis of their affiliations in the political domain.- See also :...

     refers to affiliations in the political domain.

All three dimensions have consequences for what Weber called "life chances
Life chances
Life chances is a political theory of the opportunities each individual has to improve his or her quality of life. The concept was introduced by German sociologist Max Weber. It is a probabilistic concept, describing how likely it is, given certain factors, that an individual's life will turn out...

" (opportunities to improve one's life).

The city


As part of his overarching effort to understand the unique development of the Western world, Weber produced a detailed general study of the city
City
A city is a relatively large and permanent settlement. Although there is no agreement on how a city is distinguished from a town within general English language meanings, many cities have a particular administrative, legal, or historical status based on local law.For example, in the U.S...

 as the characteristic locus of the social and economic relations, political arrangements, and ideas that eventually came to define the West. This resulted in a monograph titled The City
The City (book)
The City is a book by Max Weber, a German economist and sociologist. It was published posthumously in 1921. In 1924 it was incorporated into a larger book, Economy and Society. An English translation was made in 1958 and several editions have been released since then...

, which was probably compiled from research conducted in 1911-1913, and which was published posthumously in 1921. In 1924 it was incorporated into the second part of his Economy and Society
Economy and Society
Economy and Society is a book by political economist and sociologist Max Weber, published posthumously in Germany in 1922 by his wife Marianne. Alongside The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism, it is considered to be one of Weber's most important works...

, as chapter XVI, "The City (Non-legitimate Domination)".

According to Weber, the city as a politically autonomous organization of people living in close proximity, employed in a variety of specialized trades, and physically separated from the surrounding countryside, only fully developed in the West and to a great extent shaped its cultural evolution:
Weber argued that Judaism
Judaism
Judaism ) is the "religion, philosophy, and way of life" of the Jewish people...

, early Christianity
Christianity
Christianity is a monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus as presented in canonical gospels and other New Testament writings...

, theology
Theology
Theology is the systematic and rational study of religion and its influences and of the nature of religious truths, or the learned profession acquired by completing specialized training in religious studies, usually at a university or school of divinity or seminary.-Definition:Augustine of Hippo...

, and later the political party
Political party
A political party is a political organization that typically seeks to influence government policy, usually by nominating their own candidates and trying to seat them in political office. Parties participate in electoral campaigns, educational outreach or protest actions...

 and modern science
Science
Science is a systematic enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge in the form of testable explanations and predictions about the universe...

, were only possible in the urban context that reached a full development the West alone. He also saw in the history of medieval
Middle Ages
The Middle Ages is a periodization of European history from the 5th century to the 15th century. The Middle Ages follows the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 and precedes the Early Modern Era. It is the middle period of a three-period division of Western history: Classic, Medieval and Modern...

 European cities the rise of a unique form of "non-legitimate domination" that successfully challenged the existing forms of legitimate domination (traditional, charismatic, and rational-legal) that had prevailed until then in the Medieval world. This new domination was based on the great economic and military power wielded by the organized community of city-dwellers ("citizens").

Economics


Weber regarded himself primarily as a "political economist
Political economy
Political economy originally was the term for studying production, buying, and selling, and their relations with law, custom, and government, as well as with the distribution of national income and wealth, including through the budget process. Political economy originated in moral philosophy...

," and all of his professorial appointments were in economics
Economics
Economics is the social science that analyzes the production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services. The term economics comes from the Ancient Greek from + , hence "rules of the house"...

, though today his contributions in that field are largely overshadowed by his role as a founder of modern sociology
Sociology
Sociology is the study of society. It is a social science—a term with which it is sometimes synonymous—which uses various methods of empirical investigation and critical analysis to develop a body of knowledge about human social activity...

. As an economist, Weber belonged to the "youngest" German historical school of economics
Historical school of economics
The Historical school of economics was an approach to academic economics and to public administration that emerged in 19th century in Germany, and held sway there until well into the 20th century....

. The great differences between that school's interests and methods on the one hand and those of the neoclassical school
Neoclassical economics
Neoclassical economics is a term variously used for approaches to economics focusing on the determination of prices, outputs, and income distributions in markets through supply and demand, often mediated through a hypothesized maximization of utility by income-constrained individuals and of profits...

 (from which modern mainstream economics
Mainstream economics
Mainstream economics is a loose term used to refer to widely-accepted economics as taught in prominent universities and in contrast to heterodox economics...

 largely derives) on the other, explain why Weber's influence on economics today is hard to discern.

Methodological individualism


Though his research interests were always in line with those of the German historicists, with a strong emphasis on interpreting economic history
Economic history
Economic history is the study of economies or economic phenomena in the past. Analysis in economic history is undertaken using a combination of historical methods, statistical methods and by applying economic theory to historical situations and institutions...

, Weber's defence of "methodological individualism
Methodological individualism
Methodological individualism is the theory that social phenomena can only be accurately explained by showing how they result from the intentional states that motivate the individual actors. The idea has been used to criticize historicism, structural functionalism, and the roles of social class,...

" in the social sciences represented an important break with that school and an embracing of many of the arguments that had been made against the historicists by Carl Menger
Carl Menger
Carl Menger was the founder of the Austrian School of economics, famous for contributing to the development of the theory of marginal utility, which contested the cost-of-production theories of value, developed by the classical economists such as Adam Smith and David Ricardo.- Biography :Menger...

, the founder of the Austrian School
Austrian School
The Austrian School of economics is a heterodox school of economic thought. It advocates methodological individualism in interpreting economic developments , the theory that money is non-neutral, the theory that the capital structure of economies consists of heterogeneous goods that have...

 of economics, in the context of the academic Methodenstreit
Methodenstreit
Methodenstreit is a German term referring to an intellectual controversy or debate over epistemology, research methodology, or the way in which academic inquiry is framed or pursued...

("debate over methods") of the late 19th century. The phrase "methodological individualism," which has come into common usage in modern debates about the connection between microeconomics
Microeconomics
Microeconomics is a branch of economics that studies the behavior of how the individual modern household and firms make decisions to allocate limited resources. Typically, it applies to markets where goods or services are being bought and sold...

 and macroeconomics
Macroeconomics
Macroeconomics is a branch of economics dealing with the performance, structure, behavior, and decision-making of the whole economy. This includes a national, regional, or global economy...

, was coined by the Austrian-American economist Joseph Schumpeter
Joseph Schumpeter
Joseph Alois Schumpeter was an Austrian-Hungarian-American economist and political scientist. He popularized the term "creative destruction" in economics.-Life:...

 in 1908 as a way of referring to the views of Weber. According to Weber's theses, social research cannot be fully inductive or descriptive
Analytic philosophy
Analytic philosophy is a generic term for a style of philosophy that came to dominate English-speaking countries in the 20th century...

, because understanding some phenomenon implies that the researcher must go beyond mere description and interpret it; interpretation requires classification according to abstract "ideal (pure) types
Ideal type
Ideal type , also known as pure type, is a typological term most closely associated with antipositivist sociologist Max Weber . For Weber, the conduct of social science depends upon the construction of hypothetical concepts in the abstract...

". This, together with his antipositivistic argumentation (see Verstehen
Verstehen
Verstehen is an ordinary German word with exactly the same meaning as the English word "understand". However, since the late 19th century in the context of German philosophy and social sciences, it has also been used in the special sense of "interpretive or participatory examination" of social...

), can be taken as a methodological justification for the model of the "rational economic man" (homo economicus
Homo economicus
Homo economicus, or Economic human, is the concept in some economic theories of humans as rational and narrowly self-interested actors who have the ability to make judgments toward their subjectively defined ends...

), which is at the heart of modern mainstream economics
Mainstream economics
Mainstream economics is a loose term used to refer to widely-accepted economics as taught in prominent universities and in contrast to heterodox economics...

.

Marginalism and psychophysics


Unlike other historicists, Weber also accepted the marginal theory of value
Marginalism
Marginalism refers to the use of marginal concepts in economic theory. Marginalism is associated with arguments concerning changes in the quantity used of a good or service, as opposed to some notion of the over-all significance of that class of good or service, or of some total quantity...

 (also called "marginalism") and taught it to his students. In 1908, Weber published an article in which he drew a sharp methodological distinction between psychology and economics and attacked the claims that the marginal theory of value in economics reflected the form of the psychological response to stimuli as described by the Weber-Fechner law. Max Weber's article has been cited as a definitive refutation of the dependence of the economic theory of value on the laws of psychophysics
Psychophysics
Psychophysics quantitatively investigates the relationship between physical stimuli and the sensations and perceptions they effect. Psychophysics has been described as "the scientific study of the relation between stimulus and sensation" or, more completely, as "the analysis of perceptual...

 by Lionel Robbins
Lionel Robbins
Lionel Charles Robbins, Baron Robbins, FBA was a British economist and head of the economics department at the London School of Economics...

, George Stigler
George Stigler
George Joseph Stigler was a U.S. economist. He won the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences in 1982, and was a key leader of the Chicago School of Economics, along with his close friend Milton Friedman....

, and Friedrich Hayek
Friedrich Hayek
Friedrich August Hayek CH , born in Austria-Hungary as Friedrich August von Hayek, was an economist and philosopher best known for his defense of classical liberalism and free-market capitalism against socialist and collectivist thought...

, though the broader issue of the relation between economics and psychology has come back into the academic debate with the development of "behavioral economics."

Economic history


Weber's best known work in economics concerned the preconditions for capitalist development, particularly the relations between religion and capitalism
Capitalism
Capitalism is an economic system that became dominant in the Western world following the demise of feudalism. There is no consensus on the precise definition nor on how the term should be used as a historical category...

, which he explored in The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism
The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism
The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism is a book written by Max Weber, a German sociologist, economist, and politician. Begun as a series of essays, the original German text was composed in 1904 and 1905, and was translated into English for the first time by Talcott Parsons in 1930...

as well as in his other works on the sociology of religion
Sociology of religion
The sociology of religion concerns the role of religion in society: practices, historical backgrounds, developments and universal themes. There is particular emphasis on the recurring role of religion in all societies and throughout recorded history...

. He argued that bureaucratic political and economic systems emerging in the Middle Ages were essential in the rise of modern capitalism (including rational book-keeping and organization of formally free labour), while they were a hindrance in the case of ancient capitalism, which had a different social and political structure based on conquest, slavery, and the coastal city-state. Other contributions include his early work on the economic history of Roman agrarian society (1891) and on the labour relations in Eastern Germany
Condition of Farm Labour in Eastern Germany
Condition of Farm Labour in Eastern Germany is a book written by Maximilian Weber, a German economist and sociologist, in 1892...

 (1892), his analysis of the history of commercial partnerships in the Middle Ages
Zur Geschichte der Handelsgesellschaften im Mittelalter
Zur Geschichte der Handelgesellschaften im Mittelalter is a doctoral dissertation written by Max Weber, a German economist and sociologist in 1889...

 (1889), his critique of Marxism
Marxism
Marxism is an economic and sociopolitical worldview and method of socioeconomic inquiry that centers upon a materialist interpretation of history, a dialectical view of social change, and an analysis and critique of the development of capitalism. Marxism was pioneered in the early to mid 19th...

, the discussion of the roles of idealism
Idealism
In philosophy, idealism is the family of views which assert that reality, or reality as we can know it, is fundamentally mental, mentally constructed, or otherwise immaterial. Epistemologically, idealism manifests as a skepticism about the possibility of knowing any mind-independent thing...

 and materialism
Materialism
In philosophy, the theory of materialism holds that the only thing that exists is matter; that all things are composed of material and all phenomena are the result of material interactions. In other words, matter is the only substance...

 in the history of capitalism in his Economy and Society
Economy and Society
Economy and Society is a book by political economist and sociologist Max Weber, published posthumously in Germany in 1922 by his wife Marianne. Alongside The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism, it is considered to be one of Weber's most important works...

(1922) and his General Economic History
Wirtschaftsgeschichte
Max Weber's Wirtschaftsgeschichte was composed by his students from lecture notes shortly after his death. In his General Economic History, Weber creates an institutional theory of the rise of capitalism in the west. Unlike in his Protestant ethic, religion is given a minor role...

(1923), a notable example of the kind of empirical work associated with the German Historical School.

Though today read primarily by sociologists and social philosophers
Social philosophy
Social philosophy is the philosophical study of questions about social behavior . Social philosophy addresses a wide range of subjects, from individual meanings to legitimacy of laws, from the social contract to criteria for revolution, from the functions of everyday actions to the effects of...

, Weber's work did have a significant influence on Frank Knight
Frank Knight
Frank Hyneman Knight was an American economist who spent most of his career at the University of Chicago, where he became one of the founders of the Chicago school. Nobel laureates James M. Buchanan, Milton Friedman and George Stigler were all students of Knight at Chicago. Knight supervised...

, one of the founders of the neoclassical Chicago school of economics, who translated Weber's General Economic History into English in 1927. Knight also wrote in 1956 that Max Weber was the only economist who dealt with the problem of understanding the emergence of modern capitalism "from the angle which alone can yield an answer to such questions, that is, the angle of comparative history in the broad sense."

Economic calculation


Weber, like his colleague Werner Sombart
Werner Sombart
Werner Sombart was a German economist and sociologist, the head of the “Youngest Historical School” and one of the leading Continental European social scientists during the first quarter of the 20th century....

, regarded economic calculation
Cost-benefit analysis
Cost–benefit analysis , sometimes called benefit–cost analysis , is a systematic process for calculating and comparing benefits and costs of a project for two purposes: to determine if it is a sound investment , to see how it compares with alternate projects...

 and especially the double-entry bookkeeping
Double-entry bookkeeping system
A double-entry bookkeeping system is a set of rules for recording financial information in a financial accounting system in which every transaction or event changes at least two different nominal ledger accounts....

 method of business accounting
Accountancy
Accountancy is the process of communicating financial information about a business entity to users such as shareholders and managers. The communication is generally in the form of financial statements that show in money terms the economic resources under the control of management; the art lies in...

, as one of the most important forms of rationalisation
Rationalization (sociology)
Rationalization is a term used in sociology to refer to a process in which an increasing number of social actions become based on considerations of teleological efficiency or calculation rather than on motivations derived from morality, emotion, custom, or tradition...

 associated the development of modern capitalism. Weber's preoccupation with the importance of economic calculation led him to develop a critique of socialism
Socialism
Socialism is an economic system characterized by social ownership of the means of production and cooperative management of the economy; or a political philosophy advocating such a system. "Social ownership" may refer to any one of, or a combination of, the following: cooperative enterprises,...

 as a system that lacked a mechanism for allocating resources efficiently in order to satisfy human needs. Socialist intellectuals like Otto Neurath
Otto Neurath
Otto Neurath was an Austrian philosopher of science, sociologist, and political economist...

 had realised that in a completely socialised economy, price
Price
-Definition:In ordinary usage, price is the quantity of payment or compensation given by one party to another in return for goods or services.In modern economies, prices are generally expressed in units of some form of currency...

s would not exist and central planners would have to resort to in-kind (rather than monetary) economic calculation
Economic calculation problem
The economic calculation problem is a criticism of central economic planning. It was first proposed by Ludwig von Mises in 1920 and later expounded by Friedrich Hayek. The problem referred to is that of how to distribute resources rationally in an economy...

. According to Weber, this type of coordination would be inefficient, especially because it would be incapable of solving the problem of imputation
Imputation (economics)
In economics, the theory of imputation, first expounded by Carl Menger, maintains that factor prices are determined by output prices.This is the opposite of the labor theory of value maintained by classical economists such as Adam Smith and David Ricardo....

 (i.e. of accurately determining the relative values of capital good
Capital good
A capital good, or simply capital in economics, is a manufactured means of production. Capital goods are acquired by a society by saving wealth which can be invested in the means of production....

s). Weber wrote that, under full socialism,
This argument against socialism was made independently, at about the same time, by Ludwig von Mises
Ludwig von Mises
Ludwig Heinrich Edler von Mises was an Austrian economist, philosopher, and classical liberal who had a significant influence on the modern Libertarian movement and the "Austrian School" of economic thought.-Biography:-Early life:...

. Weber himself had a significant influence on Mises, whom he had befriended when they were both at the University of Vienna in the spring of 1918, and, through Mises, on several other economists associated with the Austrian School in the 20th century. Friedrich Hayek
Friedrich Hayek
Friedrich August Hayek CH , born in Austria-Hungary as Friedrich August von Hayek, was an economist and philosopher best known for his defense of classical liberalism and free-market capitalism against socialist and collectivist thought...

 in particular elaborated the arguments of Weber and Mises about economic calculation into a central part of free market economics's intellectual assault on socialism, as well as into a model for the spontaneous coordination of "dispersed knowledge
Dispersed knowledge
In economics, dispersed knowledge is information that is dispersed throughout the marketplace, and is not in the hands of any single agent. All agents in the market have imperfect knowledge; however, they all have a good indicator of everyone else's knowledge and intentions, and that is the...

" in markets.

Legacy


Weber's most influential work was on economic sociology
Economic sociology
Economic sociology studies both the social effects and the social causes of various economic phenomena. The field can be broadly divided into a classical period and a contemporary one. The classical period was concerned particularly with modernity and its constituent aspects...

, political sociology
Political sociology
Contemporary political sociology involves much more than the study of the relations between state and society . Where a typical research question in political sociology might have been: "Why do so few American citizens choose to vote?" or even, "What difference does it make if women get elected?" ...

, and the sociology of religion
Sociology of religion
The sociology of religion concerns the role of religion in society: practices, historical backgrounds, developments and universal themes. There is particular emphasis on the recurring role of religion in all societies and throughout recorded history...

. Along with Karl Marx
Karl Marx
Karl Heinrich Marx was a German philosopher, economist, sociologist, historian, journalist, and revolutionary socialist. His ideas played a significant role in the development of social science and the socialist political movement...

 and Émile Durkheim
Émile Durkheim
David Émile Durkheim was a French sociologist. He formally established the academic discipline and, with Karl Marx and Max Weber, is commonly cited as the principal architect of modern social science and father of sociology.Much of Durkheim's work was concerned with how societies could maintain...

, he is commonly regarded as one of the founders of modern sociology. But whereas Durkheim, following Comte
Auguste Comte
Isidore Auguste Marie François Xavier Comte , better known as Auguste Comte , was a French philosopher, a founder of the discipline of sociology and of the doctrine of positivism...

, worked in the positivist tradition, Weber was instrumental in developing an antipositivist
Antipositivism
Antipositivism is the view in social science that the social realm may not be subject to the same methods of investigation as the natural world; that academics must reject empiricism and the scientific method in the conduct of research...

, hermeneutic, tradition in the social sciences
Social sciences
Social science is the field of study concerned with society. "Social science" is commonly used as an umbrella term to refer to a plurality of fields outside of the natural sciences usually exclusive of the administrative or managerial sciences...

. In this regard he belongs to a similar tradition as his German colleagues Werner Sombart
Werner Sombart
Werner Sombart was a German economist and sociologist, the head of the “Youngest Historical School” and one of the leading Continental European social scientists during the first quarter of the 20th century....

, Georg Simmel
Georg Simmel
Georg Simmel was a major German sociologist, philosopher, and critic.Simmel was one of the first generation of German sociologists: his neo-Kantian approach laid the foundations for sociological antipositivism, asking 'What is society?' in a direct allusion to Kant's question 'What is nature?',...

, and Wilhelm Dilthey
Wilhelm Dilthey
Wilhelm Dilthey was a German historian, psychologist, sociologist and hermeneutic philosopher, who held Hegel's Chair in Philosophy at the University of Berlin. As a polymathic philosopher, working in a modern research university, Dilthey's research interests revolved around questions of...

, who stressed the differences between the methodologies appropriate to the social and the natural sciences.

Weber presented sociology as the science of human social action; action which he separated into traditional
Traditional action
Traditional action is a social action taken because it was done in the past. They are actions which are carried out due to tradition, because they are always carried out in such a situation. An example would be putting on clothes or relaxing on Sundays...

, affectional
Affectional action
Affectional action is a social action caused by an emotion . Those actions are taken due to one's emotions, to express personal feelings...

, value-rational
Value-rational action
Rational action is a social action which is taken because it leads to a valued goal, but with no thought of its consequences and often without consideration of the appropriateness of the means chosen to achieve it .-See also:*Social interaction*Social action*Affectional action*Interpersonal...

 and instrumental
Instrumental action
Instrumental action is a social action pursued after evaluating its consequences and consideration of the various means to achieve it. They are usually planned and taken after considering costs and consequences...

.
In his own time, however, Weber was viewed primarily as a historian and an economist. The breadth of Weber's topical interests is apparent in the depth of his social theory
Social theory
Social theories are theoretical frameworks which are used to study and interpret social phenomena within a particular school of thought. An essential tool used by social scientists, theories relate to historical debates over the most valid and reliable methodologies , as well as the primacy of...

:
Many of Weber's works famous today were collected, revised and published posthumously. Significant interpretations of his writings were produced by such sociological luminaries as Talcott Parsons
Talcott Parsons
Talcott Parsons was an American sociologist who served on the faculty of Harvard University from 1927 to 1973....

 and C. Wright Mills
C. Wright Mills
Charles Wright Mills was an American sociologist. Mills is best remembered for his 1959 book The Sociological Imagination in which he lays out a view of the proper relationship between biography and history, theory and method in sociological scholarship...

. Parsons in particular imparted to Weber's works a functionalist, teleological perspective; this personal interpretation has been criticised for a latent conservatism.

Weber has influenced many later social theorists, such as Theodor Adorno, Max Horkheimer
Max Horkheimer
Max Horkheimer was a German-Jewish philosopher-sociologist, famous for his work in critical theory as a member of the 'Frankfurt School' of social research. His most important works include The Eclipse of Reason and, in collaboration with Theodor Adorno, The Dialectic of Enlightenment...

, György Lukács and Jürgen Habermas
Jürgen Habermas
Jürgen Habermas is a German sociologist and philosopher in the tradition of critical theory and pragmatism. He is perhaps best known for his theory on the concepts of 'communicative rationality' and the 'public sphere'...

. Different elements of his thought were emphasized by Carl Schmitt
Carl Schmitt
Carl Schmitt was a German jurist, philosopher, political theorist, and professor of law.Schmitt published several essays, influential in the 20th century and beyond, on the mentalities that surround the effective wielding of political power...

, Joseph Schumpeter
Joseph Schumpeter
Joseph Alois Schumpeter was an Austrian-Hungarian-American economist and political scientist. He popularized the term "creative destruction" in economics.-Life:...

, Leo Strauss
Leo Strauss
Leo Strauss was a political philosopher and classicist who specialized in classical political philosophy. He was born in Germany to Jewish parents and later emigrated to the United States...

, Hans Morgenthau
Hans Morgenthau
Hans Joachim Morgenthau was one of the leading twentieth-century figures in the study of international politics...

, and Raymond Aron
Raymond Aron
Raymond-Claude-Ferdinand Aron was a French philosopher, sociologist, journalist and political scientist.He is best known for his 1955 book The Opium of the Intellectuals, the title of which inverts Karl Marx's claim that religion was the opium of the people -- in contrast, Aron argued that in...

. According to Austrian economist Ludwig von Mises
Ludwig von Mises
Ludwig Heinrich Edler von Mises was an Austrian economist, philosopher, and classical liberal who had a significant influence on the modern Libertarian movement and the "Austrian School" of economic thought.-Biography:-Early life:...

, who had met Weber during his time at the University of Vienna,
Weber's friend, the psychiatrist and existentialist philosopher Karl Jaspers
Karl Jaspers
Karl Theodor Jaspers was a German psychiatrist and philosopher who had a strong influence on modern theology, psychiatry and philosophy. After being trained in and practicing psychiatry, Jaspers turned to philosophical inquiry and attempted to discover an innovative philosophical system...

, described him "the greatest German of our era" and his untimely death felt to Jaspers "as if the German world had lost its heart."

Critical responses to Weber


Weber's explanations are highly specific to the historical periods he analysed. This makes it more difficult to generalise from his analysis and modify his theories for other circumstances.

Further, many scholars have disagreed with specific claims Weber makes in his historical analysis. For example, the economist Joseph Schumpeter
Joseph Schumpeter
Joseph Alois Schumpeter was an Austrian-Hungarian-American economist and political scientist. He popularized the term "creative destruction" in economics.-Life:...

 argued that capitalism did not begin with the Industrial Revolution
Industrial Revolution
The Industrial Revolution was a period from the 18th to the 19th century where major changes in agriculture, manufacturing, mining, transportation, and technology had a profound effect on the social, economic and cultural conditions of the times...

 but in 14th century Italy. In Milan
Milan
Milan is the second-largest city in Italy and the capital city of the region of Lombardy and of the province of Milan. The city proper has a population of about 1.3 million, while its urban area, roughly coinciding with its administrative province and the bordering Province of Monza and Brianza ,...

, Venice
Venice
Venice is a city in northern Italy which is renowned for the beauty of its setting, its architecture and its artworks. It is the capital of the Veneto region...

 and Florence
Florence
Florence is the capital city of the Italian region of Tuscany and of the province of Florence. It is the most populous city in Tuscany, with approximately 370,000 inhabitants, expanding to over 1.5 million in the metropolitan area....

 the small city-state
Italian city-states
The Italian city-states were a political phenomenon of small independent states mostly in the central and northern Italian peninsula between the 10th and 15th centuries....

 governments led to the development of the earliest forms of capitalism
Capitalism
Capitalism is an economic system that became dominant in the Western world following the demise of feudalism. There is no consensus on the precise definition nor on how the term should be used as a historical category...

. In the 16th century Antwerp was a commercial centre of Europe. Also, the predominantly Calvinist country of Scotland did not enjoy the same economic growth as the Netherlands, England and New England. It has been pointed out that the Netherlands, which had a Calvinist majority, industrialised much later in the 19th century than predominantly Catholic Belgium, which was one of the centres of the Industrial Revolution on the European mainland. Emil Kauder expanded Schumpeter's argument by arguing the hypothesis that Calvinism
Calvinism
Calvinism is a Protestant theological system and an approach to the Christian life...

 hurt the development of capitalism by leading to the development of the labour theory of value.

See also

  • Interpretations of Weber's liberalism
    Interpretations of Weber's liberalism
    There are varying interpretations of Max Weber's liberalism due to his well known sociological achievements. Max Weber is considered an eminent founder of modern social sciences, rivaled by the figures of Émile Durkheim and Karl Marx...

  • Max Weber bibliography
  • Sociology of law
    Sociology of law
    The sociology of law is often described as a sub-discipline of sociology or an interdisciplinary approach within legal studies...

  • Speeches of Max Weber

Further reading

  • Marra, Realino (1992), Dalla comunità al diritto moderno. La formazione giuridica di Max Weber. 1882-1889, Giappichelli, Torino
  • Marra, Realino (1995), La libertà degli ultimi uomini. Studi sul pensiero giuridico e politico di Max Weber, Giappichelli, Torino
  • Marra, Realino (2002), Capitalismo e anticapitalismo in Max Weber. Storia di Roma e sociologia del diritto nella genesi dell’opera weberiana, il Mulino, Bologna
  • Quensel, Bernhard K. (2007), Max Webers Konstruktionslogik. Sozialökonomik zwischen Geschichte und Theorie, Nomos, ISBN 9783832925178 [Revisiting Weber's concept of sociology against the background of his juristic and economic provenance within the framework of "social economics"]
  • Radkau, Joachim
    Joachim Radkau
    Joachim Radkau is a German historian.- Life :Son of a Protestant priest, he studied history in Münster, Berlin and Hamburg from 1963 to 1968. He was influenced e.g. by Fritz Fischer. His doctorate 1970 treated the role of German immigrants 1933-45 on Franklin D. Roosevelt...

     (2005), Max Weber [The most important Weber biography on Max Weber's life and torments since Marianne Weber.]
  • Radkau, Joachim (2005/2009). Max Weber: A Biography. Translated into English by Patrick Camiller. Polity Press. ISBN 139780745641478
  • Roth, Guenther: (2001), Max Webers deutsch-englische Familiengeschichte, J.C.B. Mohr (Paul Siebeck), ISBN 3-16-147557-7
  • Lawrence A. Scaff: Max Weber in America, Princeton University Press, Princeton/Oxford, England 2011 ISBN 978-0-691-14779-6
  • Shils, Edward and Rheinstein, Max: (1964) Max Weber Law in Economy and Society, Cambridge: Harvard University Press
    Harvard University Press
    Harvard University Press is a publishing house established on January 13, 1913, as a division of Harvard University, and focused on academic publishing. In 2005, it published 220 new titles. It is a member of the Association of American University Presses. Its current director is William P...

    , ISBN 0-674-55651-8; ISBN 0674556518; ISBN 9780674556515.

External links



Texts of his works:
Analysis of his works: