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Lecture 2

SOCI 350A Lecture 2: May 22nd.docx

Course Code
SOCI 350
Bonar Buffam

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May, 22nd 05/22/2013
Max Weber (1864-1920)
Social Action:
“that which, by virtue of the subjective meaning attached to it by the acting individual, takes
account of the behavior of others and is thereby oriented in its course”
rationalization as a primary instrument of modernity (Marx focuses on capitalism)
disenchantment of everyday life
primary interest in examining, interpretive understanding of social action
to arrive at a causal explanation of its course and effects
understand social political rationales of the way people behaved
search for laws of human action would actually lose sight of what’s human
the production of meaningful behavior as it is grounded in a specific historical context
Ideal type
Analytical model of a phenomenon that specifies only its essential elements
‘Real’ cases are to be compared against it
Rationalization: ongoing process through which social interactions are governed by methodical
procedures and calculable rules
Primary agents of modernization
Loosening hold of custom and tradition, such that we see practices, modes of organization chosen
because they are efficient and facilitate predictability rather than because they are customary
This creates the disenchantment of social life
Loosening hold from religion
Marx sees capitalism as the source of all human exploitation
Weber sees bureaucracy as a historical force unto itself, which we can distinguish from capitalism.
Even if we abolish capitalism, bureaucracy will remain and continue to organize social
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Essential Characteristics
Fixed offices
Credentialism and training
Tasks become occupations
Universal standards
Technological superiority of the bureaucratic form allows it to dominate
In each bureaucracy we will see those essential characteristics
George Ritzer
Features of McDonaldization
Non-human technology
Not specific to McDonalds, but something that McDonalds exemplifies
Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism
Why do we see a country dominated by Protestants have so much more economic power and vitality
than countries that are dominated by Catholics?
Practice of strict self-denial as a measured form of spiritual discipline
Protestant asceticism
Highest form of obligation of individual is to fulfill duty in worldly affairs
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