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Sociology of Max Weber - Essay Example

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Over the last decade, there has been a quiet revolution in the interpretation of the sociology of Max Weber. The key to these changes has been the disappearance of the obsession with the theme of Marx versus Weber…
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Sociology of Max Weber
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Sociology of Max Weber

Download file to see previous pages... It is, of course, not entirely legitimate to use the term 'modernization' to describe Weber's interests, but we can regard his discussion of the processes of rationalization, disenchantment, bureaucratization and regulation as broadly standing for an analysis of modernization. Weber's historical sociology attempted to expose the roots of modernization in the life-orders, cultural traditions and ethics, which were the consequences of the rationalization of the ethical systems of the world religions. Of course, within the context of these contemporary interpretations, the attempt to develop a sharp opposition between Marx and Weber looks in retrospect especially artificial and inappropriate. Weber was quite obviously and openly influenced by Marx's sociology. Another development which has influenced the ways in which contemporary sociologists perceive the relationship between Marx's historical materialism and Weber's historical sociology has been a new emphasis on the early writings of Weber. An examination of Weber's early work, on economic organization in the Middle Ages, the importance of Roman agricultural organization for legal relations, and the economic organization of East Elbian Germany and its political implications for the state, forces us to a number of important conclusions. First, there is the issue of treating Weber as a 'founding father' of sociology, because his research was profoundly shaped by interdisciplinary issues, but especially by economic questions (Tribe 1989, p 142-143). Second, the early Weber approached social science problems with the conceptual apparatus of Marx, especially the emphasis on class struggle and relations of...
There has been a profound reorientation in the exegesis of Weber’s sociology, which has involved an examination of the relationship between Nietzsche and Weber. These contemporary interpretations have often involved a rejection of the Parsonian analysis of Weber as an interpretive sociologist of social action, and occasionally they have gone further to suggest that Weber was not a sociologist at all. While these strategies in my view illegitimately downgrade the status of Economy and Society, they also involve a serious misunderstanding of Parsons’ sociology. More importantly, they neglect the implications of Nietzsche for their own interpretive standpoint. Perspectivism is a two-edged sword, because it may be that the whole of social science, and not just sociology, is brought into question by Nietzsche’s prophetic and ecstatic ‘joyous science’. We can either go down the path of deconstruction, but we have no idea what the consequences might be, or we can attempt some modest defence of traditional social science disciplines and their divisions. ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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