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Lecture 11

SOCI 230 Lecture 11: SOCI 230 Weber

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SOCI 230
Prechel Harland

SOCI 230 Max Weber (1864-1920) I. Introduction: Comparative and Historical Sociology  Historical and comparative methods o Compare countries o Compare different time periods within a country  In traditional societies, social organization was based on tradition, age-old customs, norms, values and beliefs  In contrast, social organization in modernity is increasingly characterized by application of science, calculation and formal rules that rule all spheres of social life  EX: Norway is happiest country in the world o Beautiful country o National health care o Both parents get full paid year off when child is born o ** these are universal interests II. Central Question  What is relationship between an individual and society?  What are the effects of transition to modernity on individual? o Individual-society/structure  Core feature of study of social structure: pattern of individual behavior  Believed we can only predict social action by probability  Method and theory intertwined III. Comparative and Historical Methods  Weber developed Ideal Types: capture most dominant features of phenomena (empirical) ** o Abstractions, part of theory, more complex than a concept o Purpose is to explain the empirical world o Bureaucracy  ideal types • Hierarchy • Rules • Etc.  Democracy refers to management of organizations  Ideal types allows you to make shortcuts to knowledge  Verstehen: understanding meaning of social action, understanding of motivation always involves relating particular conduct of individual to broader social structure o Social structures affect social action  Argued that most stable form of social relationships are these in which subjective attitudes (values) of individuals are directed towards belief in legitimate order IV. Rationalization  Historical process: society becomes increasingly categorized by dimensions to establish rules and regulations  In western societies (compared to traditional), rationalization is characterized as: o Depersonalization of social relations  based on material items, people make different assumptions about a man in a suit compared to a man in torn up jeans and t-shirt o Refinement of techniques of calculation  need to know how much money we have based on what we can buy with it. For example, what kind of apartment or car we want and can get, etc. o Enhancement of social importance of specialized knowledge  compared to general knowledge in traditional society is increasingly economically dependent on one another o Extension of technically rational control over both natural and social processes • Natural: oil produced into plastic • Social: rules when driving on roads in which a violation is punishable • More rules governing behavior V. Rationalization and Multicausality  Weber’s social theory emphasizes multicausality= sociological phenomena explained by multiple causes  ……. VI. Protestant Ethic and Spirit of Capitalism  Why did modern capitalism emerge where it did? ** ultimate question  Capitalism (mercantile, trade) developed in southern Europe  However, Weber observed that advanced rational capital advanced quickly in northern Europe o Noticed that northern Europe is puritan, and southern Europe is catholic  Proposition: modern capitalism is related to emergence of ascetic Protestantism  Elective affinity: o Rational sphere (formal calculation) o Irrational sphere (values)  Protestant ethic and spirit of capitalism are characterized by unique combination of: o Devotion to earning of wealth through legitimate economic activity
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