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Max Weber - Research Paper Example

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Introduction Max Weber was a German philosopher, sociologist, and political economist. He had a profound influence on the discipline of sociology. His influence is seen in social research and formulation of social theory (Encyclopedia Brittanica, n.d.). Weber argued that the societies do not differ on the basis of the products they produce; instead, they are differentiated on the basis of how the individuals view and understand the world and their social surroundings…
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Max Weber

Download file to see previous pages... Weber was highly inspired by German idealism and specifically by neo-Kantianism. The most significant influence of neo-Kantianism thought on Weber was the idea that reality is basically disorganized and perplexing, with all the balanced order coming from the way in which the individual mind focuses its attention on particular areas of reality and arranges the perceptions that come as an output. Social Action Max Weber viewed sociology as a science of social action. His early focus in sociology revolved around subjective meanings that individuals attach to the actions that they take and their interpretations of concepts within a particular social context (Elwell, n.d.). According to this, Weber categorizes action in four different ways. The following kinds of action can be taken. Zweckrational (the means used to achieve the required goal are rationally chosen). Wertrational (the goal one is trying to achieve might not be rational, but rational ways are used to attain it). Affective action is rooted in the emotional state of an individual instead of rational thinking. Traditional action is the action that is guided or regulated by customs, habits, or traditions. According to Weber, there are many factors in action behind human behavior, and he believed that most of the behavior exercised by individuals is a mix of the above mentioned actions. He advocated that a distinctive shift in the motivation of individual behavior is a distinguishing feature of a modern society (Elwell, n.d.). Major part of his work investigates the factors that gave birth to the idea of rationalization in the western society. Weber believes that social action is an illustration of the use of an ideal type. An ideal type provides the fundamental method for comparative and historical study (Elwell, n.d.). It also helps the researcher when he or she is studying a specific area of the society. This ideal type cannot be a real phenomenon; it is a classic hypothetical example against which the reality could be compared (Barnard, Burgess, & Kirby, 2004). Theory of Rationalization According to Weber, rationalization refers to the increasing human control over the social environment. As per this theory, there are three basic points that are individual cost-benefit analysis, the bureaucratic arrangement of organization, and understanding of reality without searching for explanations in mystery, magic, or supernatural beliefs (Allan, 2005). The process of rational thought is the sensible application of knowledge to arrive at a preferred outcome. It leads to competence, cooperation, efficiency, and power over both the natural and the social surroundings (Elwell, n.d.). It also makes individuals come out as free, as he or she breaks the net of traditional thoughts and illogical belief systems. In his later works on bureaucracy, Weber discusses rationalization in detail. Weber advocates that bureaucracies are goal-defined organizations devised according to rational factors in order to effectively achieve their goals (Elwell, n.d.). The bureaucratic cooperation of the actions of numerous people has become the main structural characteristic of modern societies. As regards the concept of rationalization, Weber stayed doubtful. He saw it as a two-sided phenomenon. On the ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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