EURO ST 10 Lecture Notes - Lecture 12: Calvinism, Protestantism, Protestant Reformation
Course CodeEURO ST 10
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Europe Studies 10
Course Code: 24000
2018 Fall Quarter
● The Practice of Capitalism, Global Trade, Colonialism, Slavery
○ The Dutch East and West India Companies
○ More Aspects of Modernity
○ What is the “spirit” of capitalism according to Weber?
○ An “ethos”, attitude, a set of values
○ Defined by the drive to work more than is necessary for the sake of work, or as a
“sign” of worthiness
○ An “ascetic” attitude
■ Self-discipline, austerity
■ Makes possible the overcoming of “traditionalism”
○ Where did this “work ethic” that is a condition of capitalism come from?
○ Protestant theology (Luther and Calvin)
○ How so?
○ Need to subject the (sinful) body and the desire to have a sign of salvation (god’s
“riches” will be bestowed on me)
○ Compare developments in northern and southern europe in the 16th and 17th
○ Or compare, say florence, italy during the renaissance, and “backwoods
■ What’s the difference in economic development?
○ How can we explain this?
■ Is there anything else going on during this period
● Impact on Culture:
○ The calvinism of the netherlands contributed to the rise of capitalism, which was
celebrated in dutch art of the 16th and 17th centuries
○ The domestic sphere, work, and public life of the capitalist republic were themes
of painting, a kind of mirror of dutch life
○ First: the ethos that drives capitalism
■ That gets people to devote themselves to work, does not seem to have
anything to do with religion
○ Second: in fact, capitalism, as it develops, eclipses religion, or is a secularizing
○ Hence: it takes interpretive work to reveal the surprising fact that behind
capitalism, or one of its conditions of possibility, were ideas derived from religion
● Weber and Darwin
○ How does weber use darwinism
○ Capitalism had to “evolve”
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