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Max Weber on Democracy - Essay Example

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Weber did not define democracy as the best of all political systems. Indeed he was well aware of the short comings if democracy and had reservations as to its' success. Weber was not really interested in citizenship rather it was the underpinnings of the leadership which promote the democratic process which interested him…
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Max Weber on Democracy
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Download file to see previous pages This is likely one of the reasons why Weber's outlook was so negative upon democracy. Weber felt that since sociologists are human beings possessed with the capability of having empathy and understanding for others, that social actions should be analyzed accordingly.
Weber, unlike Marx and Durkheim really focused on the individual and not society as a whole. He focused on status, individual ideas, social class and religion in evaluating their impact on democracy. Weber felt that each of these facets had an individual and equally compelling effect upon the individual and therefore their perceived place in a democratic society.
Weber did not believe in the notion of elections or of positional changing. He instead advocated that all elected officials should instead be lifetime appointments. There is a bit of a disparity here because it ultimately results in a single election for a lifetime appointment and the gravamen of American democracy is term limits. It is the term limits which stop the country from becoming a hierarchy and which allows for the continued growth of the country.
Weber advocated the type of hierarchy that one would see in a college, university or Fortune 500 company. Any person who receives the lifetime appointment must have the proper credentials which of course required a certificate program of some sort. Thus, under his proposed, democracy would be a well oiled lifetime administrative machine. The problem with his thinking is that it completely flies in the face of the American definition of democracy especially as applied to term limits.
Weber did not approve of democracy mainly because he found the democracy of Germany to be petty. He did not feel that a democracy could be successful in a country with a tremendous bureaucracy. The notions flew in each other's faces, however if the country was one that was run like an administrative university, perhaps he would have more open to the idea of democracy.

Parson was fascinated by the notion of Citizenship. (Kivisto 68) By way of example, he wrote about the idea of African Americans enjoying the rights of full citizenship. Parson was particularly influenced by Marshall's three dimension application towards democracy. Marshall regarded the three dimensions as the civil, political and social. The process was regarded by Marshall as an evolutionary one, which for the most part Parson adopted, however as to the social dimension, unlike Marshall, Parson applied that dimension to Roosevelt's "New Deal". (Kivisto 68)
In a complete break from his mentor Weber, Parsons felt that the future of democracy was bleak if not unattainable, Parsons' predictions for the future of African Americans was sunny. (Kivisto 69) Weber, however, felt that the prospects for democracy in Germany were dim. Parsons felt that America was the last word in modern society and opined that complete citizenship would occur when African Americans (and other similarly situated minorities) were granted the same rights as whites. At such time, Parsons predicted that democratic citizenship would be complete. (Kivisto 69).
Cuff, E. C., W. W. Sharrock and D. W. Francis, Perspectives in Sociology, third edition, London, Routledge, 1992. HM66 P36 1984.

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