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SOCB43H3 Lecture Notes - Protestant Work Ethic, Charismatic Authority, Ideal Type

Course Code
Dan Silver

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Lecture 01/16/2014
Max Weber
-Discusses capitalism and beauracracy
-Zimmel = study of individualism, individual
-Born in 1864, oldest of seven children in Berlin
-Father was political figure and thus there were many political influences, mother
influenced literary and cultural development
-Joined military and fell in love with cousin
-Was first student then lawyer and finally professor
-Highly resentful of his father
-Studied German agriculture
-Like the monk, utterly absorbed in his work, produced a book each year
-Marian Weber, wife, was an influential intellectual
-Weber was center of intellectual thought
-Fight with father and subsequent death of father resulted in mental breakdown
-Founded some of the first intellectual journals related to sociology
-WWI: believed war was great and wonderful for Germany
-Science/Politics as a vocation: studies of the great world religions
Sociology as Science of Action
-Refers to understanding logic of society
-You need to understand human being doing things in reference to on another, and in
particular what motivates you, what matters to people when they do things
-Why are people praying in Church?
oExamine structure of organization
oWhat they hope to get out of this experience – Weber’s viewpoint
-You take seriously people’s ideas and motivations

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-Focus is not institutions but rather the individual, the subjective meaning that people
attach to what they do
-It is true that people do stuff without a reason
-There are a lot of people in the world thus how is it possible to study this n a subjective
-How is it possible to understand what drives people to do what they do
Theory of Action
-What action means and what the basis of it is
-Describes what types of action there are
-Tells you what to look for
-What are different meanings that can motivate action
-Theory of action = typology of action
-Explaining and understanding action = why someone beats up their friend
-4 major types of action:
oPurposive rationality (goal-oriented, teleological)
Why people are doing what they are doing
Goals for action
Based on trying to match means available to you in the most efficient way
Do it without emotion
You are concerned with outcome
Focused on the consequences
oValue oriented rationality
Defending a value such as honor of the family
Certain things become rational in the light of the value
Focused on the intention rather than the consequences
Will defend mother regardless of the consequences
oAffective (emotion)
Action based on the emotional condition of the person
Person shouting because they are angered: aren’t getting anything out of
it, not defending a value

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Where you’re action is based on taken for granted customs and habits
Just the way things have always been done
Customs, path dependency are powerful things that explain our actions
Families fighting for 500 years
You’re not achieving a purpose, no value or even emotional
-Reasons for this theory:
oAllows you to make systematic and typological distinctions
Able to classify different groups and organizations in a systematic way
Can compare and classify whole ranges of social life based on the
meaning of their actions
oAllows you study historical development
Can evaluate change over time
Weber believed that traditional and emotional action was declining and
instead modern society focused on purposive action
Only care about values, traditions but ultimate goal
A rationalization of all aspects of life
Natural vs. Social Science
-Natural science is considered to be science (chemistry, physics)
-Two Camps of Debate of science:
oPositivists – we explain things in a scientific way when we can bring it under a
general law
Science of society needs to find general law of human behavior
Scientific theory of revolution = law of revolution, if so and so occurs a
revolution will happen
Impossible to make generalizations when it comes to human beings, they
are not like rocks
Humans do not follow the same sort of regularities, we are free to act and
make decisions
These actions can never be fully explained by any law
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