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Lecture17-March18 (3).docx

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Western University
Sociology 2240E
Charles Levine

March 19 2014 The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism ­ Weber is trying to tell us something about the relationship between the Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism. ­ Asimple idea is that if you take God, and religious concerns away from the Protestant, the very core is similar to the core of what it takes to be a good capitalist. ­ How does he present this? All of his methodological concerns are represented in the book  Verstehen: understanding, the whole book is an exercise in verstehen, requesting the reader to take the point of view of the Protestant. He invites us to be thinking about these historical actors by creating an ideal type of them.  Ideal Type: It is an exaggerated type, a stereotype. Focus on predestination. Once he gives you a stereotype is becomes an object you try to understand.  Multicausality: Steps outside and becomes more of a macro sociologist at the end of the book. He’s not trying to say this is the only explanation, acknowledges what Marx would say, and he argues that it has to be a bit of everything  Objective possibility: Uses it to makes a compelling argument about the importance of a historical event. When he talks about India and China he is asking if the development of modern capitalism would have occurred without the Protestant Reformation. He says let’s think about what would happen without this by looking at India and China. They didn’t develop capitalism because their religious and value orientations were other-worldly. In India and China they were oriented to the next life, not this life and by implication if the protestant ethic had not happened we would have been left with Catholicism which has the same mentality. Weber argues that it is the this worldly emphasis that is a critical factor in the consciousness of human beings.  Social action (big theme in the book): most sociologists see Weber laying the foundation for a larger sociology, a sociology that extends itself far beyond the specific topic of the protestant ethic, They argue that contained in this book is the description of a cultural force that comes to dominate modernity. Weber has 4 types of action but in this book he primarily uses value rationality -> Means-ends rationality. The ideal type of Protestantism is value-action rationality. They can vary many of the things they do as long as the ends of their actions are oriented towards pleasing God. All things must be consistent with their religious calling. Whole life is about serving God, if you have any success it is put right back into The Calling.According to Weber the ends (God) starts to disappear. After God becomes less important, what takes it’s place? This is where meansends rationality begins. In the growth of capitalism people are still working really hard and being ve
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