Maximilian Karl Emil Weber was a German sociologist, historian, jurist and political economist, who is regarded as among the most important theorists of the development of modern Western society.
93 Facts About Max Weber
Unlike Durkheim, Max Weber did not believe in monocausal explanations, proposing instead that for any outcome there can be multiple causes.
Also unlike Durkheim, Max Weber was a key proponent of methodological anti-positivism, arguing for the study of social action through interpretive rather than purely empiricist methods, based on a subjective understanding of the meanings that individuals attach to their own actions.
Max Weber formulated a thesis arguing that such processes are associated with the rise of capitalism and modernity.
Max Weber is known for his thesis combining economic sociology and the sociology of religion, emphasising the importance of cultural influences embedded in religion as driving factors of capitalism.
Max Weber first elaborated this theory in his seminal work The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism, where he included ascetic Protestantism among the major "elective affinities" leading to the rise of market-driven capitalism and the rational-legal systems of practice in the Western world.
Max Weber was the first to categorise social authority into distinct forms: charismatic, traditional, and rational-legal.
Max Weber made a variety of other contributions in economic history, theory, and methodology.
Max Weber ran unsuccessfully for a seat in parliament and served as advisor to the committee that drafted the ill-fated democratic Weimar Constitution of 1919.
Maximilian Karl Emil Weber was born on 21 April 1864 in Erfurt, Province of Saxony, Prussia, but his family moved to Berlin in 1869.
Max Weber was the oldest of eight children to Max Weber Sr.
In 1882, Max Weber enrolled in the University of Heidelberg as a law student, later transferring to Friedrich Wilhelm University in Berlin and then the University of Gottingen.
In 1886, Max Weber passed the examination for Referendar, comparable to the bar association examination in the British and US legal systems.
Under the tutelage of Levin Goldschmidt, a family acquaintance, Max Weber earned his law doctorate in 1889 by writing a dissertation on legal history titled Development of the Principle of Joint Liability and a Separate Fund of the General Partnership out of the Household Communities and Commercial Associations in Italian Cities.
The marriage granted long-awaited financial independence to Max Weber, allowing him to finally leave his parents' household.
Max Weber involved himself in politics, joining the left-leaning Evangelical Social Congress.
Max Weber was put in charge of the study and wrote a large part of the final report, which generated considerable attention and controversy, marking the beginning of Max Weber's renown as a social scientist.
From 1893 to 1899, Max Weber was a member of the Alldeutscher Verband, an organization that campaigned against the influx of the Polish workers; the degree of Max Weber's support for the Germanisation of Poles and similar nationalist policies is still debated by modern scholars.
In some of his work, in particular his provocative lecture on "The Nation State and Economic Policy" delivered in 1895, Max Weber criticises the immigration of Poles and blames the Junker class for perpetuating Slavic immigration to serve their selfish interests.
Max Weber remained active in the Verein and the Evangelical Social Congress.
Max Weber's condition forced him to reduce his teaching and eventually leave his course unfinished in the autumn of 1899.
In 1904, Max Weber began to publish some of his most seminal papers in this journal, notably his essay The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism, 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.
Also in 1904, Max Weber visited the United States with his wife, participating in the Congress of Arts and Sciences held in connection with the World's fair in St Louis.
Max Weber used the trip to learn more about America and this experience played a role in the development of the Protestant work ethic.
Max Weber used the trip to find social and theological conditions that could contribute to his thesis.
Max Weber used the trip to further his knowledge of the United States' social and economic conditions more generally.
Later in 1912, Max Weber tried to organise a left-wing political party to combine social-democrats and liberals.
In time Max Weber became one of the most prominent critics of German expansionism and of the Kaiser's war policies.
Max Weber publicly attacked the Belgian annexation policy and unrestricted submarine warfare, later supporting calls for constitutional reform, democratisation, and universal suffrage.
Max Weber joined the worker and soldier council of Heidelberg in 1918.
Max Weber would run, though unsuccessfully, for a parliamentary seat, as a member of the liberal German Democratic Party, which he had co-founded.
Max Weber was, at the same time, critical of the Versailles Treaty, which he believed unjustly assigned "war guilt" to Germany when it came to the war, as Max Weber believed that many countries were guilty of starting it, not just Germany.
Frustrated with politics, Max Weber resumed teaching during this time, first at the University of Vienna, then, after 1919, at the University of Munich.
On 14 June 1920, Max Weber contracted the Spanish flu and died of pneumonia in Munich.
At the time of his death, Max Weber had not finished writing his on sociological theory: Economy and Society.
Sociology, for Max Weber, is "a science which attempts the interpretive understanding of social action in order thereby to arrive at a causal explanation of its course and effects".
Max Weber's methodology was developed in the context of a wider debate about methodology of social sciences, the Methodenstreit.
Max Weber's position was close to historicism, as he understood social actions as being heavily tied to particular historical contexts and its analysis required the understanding of subjective motivations of individuals.
Max Weber began his studies of the subject in The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism, in which he argued that the redefinition of the connection between work and piety in Protestantism and especially in ascetic Protestant denominations, particularly Calvinism, shifted human effort towards rational efforts aimed at achieving economic gain.
Max Weber saw rationalisation as one of the main factors setting the European West apart from the rest of the world.
Max Weber understood this process as the institutionalisation of purposive-rational economic and administrative action.
Max 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 criticised it for dehumanising individuals as "cogs in the machine" and curtailing their freedom, trapping them in the bureaucratic iron cage of rationality and bureaucracy.
Max Weber saw religion as one of the core forces in society.
Max Weber's goal was to find reasons for the different development paths of the cultures of the Occident and the Orient, although without judging or valuing them, like some of the contemporary thinkers who followed the social Darwinist paradigm; Weber wanted primarily to explain the distinctive elements of the Western civilisation.
Max Weber maintained that Calvinist religious ideas had a major impact on the social innovation and development of the economic system of the West, but noted that they were not the only factors in this development.
Max Weber argued that hedonism plays a role in Islamic ethics and teachings, in which worldly pleasures such as military interests and the "acquisition of booty" are emphasised.
Max Weber proposed a socio-evolutionary model of religious change, showing that in general, societies have moved from magic to polytheism, then to pantheism, monotheism and finally, ethical monotheism.
Max Weber thus argued that Roman Catholicism impeded the development of the capitalist economy in the West, as did other religions such as Confucianism and Buddhism elsewhere in the world:.
Max Weber argued that there were many reasons to look for the origins of modern capitalism in the religious ideas of the Reformation.
Max Weber abandoned research into Protestantism as his colleague Ernst Troeltsch, a professional theologian, had begun work on the book Social Teachings of the Christian Churches and Sects.
Max Weber focused on those aspects of Chinese society that were different from those of Western Europe, especially those aspects that contrasted with Puritanism.
Max Weber's work questioned why capitalism did not develop in China.
Max Weber focused on the issues of Chinese urban development, Chinese patrimonialism and officialdom and Chinese religion and philosophy, as the areas in which Chinese development differed most distinctively from the European route.
In Max Weber's view, Hinduism in India, like Confucianism in China, was a barrier for capitalism.
Max Weber ended his research of society and religion in India by bringing in insights from his previous work on China to discuss similarities of the Asian belief systems.
Max Weber juxtaposed such Messianic prophecies, notably from the Near East region to the exemplary prophecies found on the Asiatic 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.
Max Weber's next work, Ancient Judaism was an attempt to prove this theory.
Max Weber contrasted the innerworldly asceticism developed by Western Christianity with mystical contemplation of the kind developed in India.
Max Weber noted that some aspects of Christianity sought to conquer and change the world, rather than withdraw from its imperfections.
Max Weber claimed 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.
Max Weber defines the importance of societal class within religion by examining the difference between the two theodicies and to what class structures they apply.
Accordingly, Max Weber proposed that politics is the sharing of state power between various groups, whereas political leaders are those who wield this power.
Max Weber distinguished three ideal types of political leadership :.
Max Weber described many ideal types of public administration and government in his masterpiece Economy and Society.
Max Weber listed several preconditions for the emergence of the bureaucracy, which resulted in a need for a more efficient administrative system, including:.
Max Weber formulated a three-component theory of stratification, with social class, social status and political party as conceptually distinct elements.
All three dimensions have consequences for what Max Weber called "life chances".
Max Weber scholars maintain a sharp distinction between the terms status and class, even though, in casual use, people tend to use them interchangeably.
Max Weber argued that Judaism, early Christianity, theology, and later the political party and modern science, were only possible in the urban context that reached a full development in the West alone.
Max Weber saw in the history of medieval European cities the rise of a unique form of "non-legitimate domination" that successfully challenged the existing forms of legitimate domination that had prevailed until then in the Medieval world.
Max Weber regarded himself primarily as a "political economist", and all his professorial appointments were in economics, though today his contributions in that field are largely overshadowed by his role as a founder of modern sociology.
Max Weber's magnum opus Economy and Society is a collection of his essays that he was working on at the time of his death in 1920.
The composition includes a wide range of essays dealing with Max Weber's views regarding sociology, social philosophy, politics, social stratification, world religion, diplomacy, and other subjects.
Unlike other historicists, Max Weber accepted the marginal theory of value and taught it to his students.
In 1908, Max 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 Max 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 by Lionel Robbins, George Stigler, and Friedrich Hayek, though the broader issue of the relation between economics and psychology has come back into the academic debate with the development of "behavioral economics".
Max Weber's best known work in economics concerned the preconditions for capitalist development, particularly the relations between religion and capitalism, which he explored in The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism as well as in his other works on the sociology of religion.
Max Weber argued that bureaucratic political and economic systems emerging in the Middle Ages were essential in the rise of modern capitalism, 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.
Max 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.
Max Weber's thinking was strongly influenced by German idealism, particularly by neo-Kantianism, which he had been exposed to through Heinrich Rickert, his professorial colleague at the University of Freiburg.
Especially important to Max Weber's work is the neo-Kantian belief that reality is essentially chaotic and incomprehensible, with all rational order deriving from the way the human mind focuses attention on certain aspects of reality and organises the resulting perceptions.
Max 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.
Max Weber was influenced by Kantian ethics, which he nonetheless came to think of as obsolete in a modern age lacking in religious certainties.
New research suggests that some of Max Weber's theories, including his interest in the sociology of Far Eastern religion and elements of his theory of disenchantment, were actually shaped by Max Weber's interaction with contemporary German occult figures.
Max Weber is known to have visited the Ordo Templi Orientis at Monte Verita shortly before articulating his idea of disenchantment.
Max Weber is known to have met the German poet and occultist Stefan George and developed some elements of his theory of charisma after observing George.
However, Max Weber disagreed with many of George's views and never formally joined George's occult circle.
Max Weber is widely considered the greatest of German sociologists and.
Max Weber presented sociology as the science of human social action; action that he separated into traditional, affectional, value-rational and instrumental.
Gane argues that Foucault goes further than Max Weber in offering two methods for the individual to resist rationalization: by looking at the history of the development of rationalization in so-called genealogy, the factors that influenced this rationalization, and how rationalization differed in the past; and looking at how power relations and current knowledge interaction with particular rationalizations.
Max Weber's explanations are highly specific to the historical periods he analysed.
Some academics disagree, pointing out that, despite the fact that Max Weber did write in the early twentieth century, his ideas remain alive and relevant for understanding issues such as politics, bureaucracy, and social stratification today.
Weber's writings are generally cited according to the critical Max Weber-Gesamtausgabe, published by Mohr Siebeck in Tubingen.