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Lecture 9

SOCIOL 2S06 Lecture Notes - Lecture 9: Blue-Collar Worker, Bourgeoisie, Marianne Weber

Course Code
Young David

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October 23rd 2015
Max Weber
A Biographical Sketch
A. Early Years
Born in 1864 in Germany
Father was a lawyer and it was said that he mistreated his mother
Weber’s aunts were religious
His uncle was a professor and a liberal
Liberal political systems, capitalists economy
University Education
B. Education
Weber began law school in 1882 at the University of Heidelberg
He was known to be rowdy and a drinker and practiced fencing
Junior Barrister
Weber received a PhD in law in 1891
He then began teaching at the University of Berlin in 1891 lecturing
on law
In 1894 he became a professor of Economics at the University of
C. Personal Life
Married Marianne Weber who was his 2nd cousin
She was a well known feminist
German Feminist Movement
D. Tragedy and Collapse
A family dispute caused his father to leave and he died several weeks
Weber suffered a nervous breakdown after his fathers death
o Exhaustion
o Sleeplessness
o Anxiety
o Worsened into a severe depression
Cause of breakdown
o There was several different causes
o He had a sense of guilt and remorse over the death of his father
o There was tension between his parents
o A sign of mental illness running in Weber’s family
E. Recovery from Collapse
Started to recover in 1903 six years after the breakdown
He returned to academic work in 1904
After recovering he moved into a productive period of writing
o Some of his most famous works were produced here

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October 23rd 2015
Travel to the United States
o Invited to lecture in 1904
o Interested in some of the things he noticed during his visit
American capitalism was dominated by large
corporations which took the form of bureaucracies
Many successful business men were protestants
F. Return to Research and Writing
The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism (1905)
During this period, weber was living off his inheritance acquired in
Economy and Society started in 1909
Weber tied together a lot of interests such as religion, capitalism,
stratification, power, rationalization, bureaucracy, organizations
In 1910 he helped form German Sociological Society, an organization
dedicated to advancing sociology as a discipline in Germany
G. Later Years
Weber supported the war effort in 1914
He became a reserve officer and worked as an operator of military
As the war dragged on and as the causalities mounted, weber became
disillusioned with the war efforts
Weber return to university employment in 1918 at the University of
o This university allowed him to teach a lot of sociology courses
H. Tragedy and Death
Weber’s mother died in 1919 and his younger sister committed
suicide in 1920
Weber was diagnosed with pneumonia in 1920 at the age of 56
He did not recover and did die at 56
Weber and 21st Century Society
Is Weber’s work still relevant?
Many sociologists argue that his work is useful and we can use it to
understand 21st century society
1. Analysis of bureaucracy
o Bureaucracy is more prevalent now then when Weber wrote
o He gave up an extensive analysis of bureaucracy which is useful to
understand its growth
2. Analysis of inequality
o Weber said that there is more to inequality then just class
o Class

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October 23rd 2015
o Status
o Party
o Power
o Domination
Weber’s Theoretical Idea’s
Religion and Capitalism
o Key aspects of Weber’s thesis
o Two Protestant Doctrines
1. Protestant Reformation an attempt to reform the Roman Catholic
Various Catholics who were not happy with the church and
tried to initiate changes
2. Protestant Denominations failure to reform the Catholic Church, a
bunch of the Catholics left and ended up establishing various
Protestant Denominations
o Martin Luther (Lutherism)
o John Calvin (Calvinism)
o Weber tied what he called the spirit of capitalism to particular
doctrines that were advanced by their protestant reforms
o Two doctrines were
Luther’s concept of the calling
Calvin’s focus on predestination
Impact of Luther’s Doctrine
o Luther argued
Calling: That all people are called to the service of God
People would serve God though their daily activities to the
very best of their ability
o He had two unforeseen consequences of the calling
Made people highly aware of the significance of their daily
activities including their work
Started doing their daily activities to the best o their
ability and tried to conduct these activities to avoid
being sinful
To serve God by being dedicated to work
Worked really hard in the service of God that helped
businesses to thrive
In the end people developed strong work ethic
Impact of Calvin’s Doctrine
o Calvin’s Doctrine is based upon predestination
o He argues that all tings are predetermined by god
o God already knows who is going to be saved and who is going to be
o The fate of all people is predestines
o Calvin’s followers found this very uncomfortable
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