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SOCB43 First Half of Semester ( MIDTERM NOTES)

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Steven Hayle

SOCB43 January 16 Weber's life -born 1864, oldest of 7 children -mother and father of same class, mother more literary cultural -joined military, drew close to aunt and uncle and fell in love with cousin -moved back to Berlin after military service, a student, lawyer for a while -wrote important work on roman economy, German agriculture -very disciplined, similar to a monk, self-denial -later got married to another intellectual, but no romantic relationship -had an affair, around this time wrote about spiritual value of eroticism -had mental breakdown after fathers death, couldnt work at all, couldnt concentrate to read -after that became highly prolific, wrote methodological documents that grounded sociology discipline -science as a vocation and politics of a vocation were the last lectures of his life -religion shapes ethics, spiritual values shape material -he passed in 1920 Sociology as the Science of Action -sociology is the science of action, understanding the logic of human beings, what motivate people, what values they have, what matters to people, what are the consequences that people do things in order to be saved from the world, people act for power, recognition -thinking of subjective meaning that analyze what people do -in order to study this on a mass scale we need : a theory of action which tells us what types of actions there are which in turn will tell us what to look for -he distinguished four major types of action (though these are not considered to be the only 4) -having a goal and the means to achieve this goal may be seen as rational though the act in itself may be irrational Typology of Action 1. purposive rationality/ goal-directed/ teleological -done without emotion, what matters is the outcome, focused on consequence 2. value oriented rationality -structure, organization, meaning, direction -focused on intention rather than consequence 3. affective -based on emotional condition of people doing the action -doing things to experience emotion eg listen to music 4. traditional -taken for granted customs or habits, doing things because that is the way they have always been done -"path dependency" -Weber saw two reasons why making these distinctions were important 1. systematic typological distinctions 2. studying historical development -studying change overtime, and how uch society emphasize one type of action over another Natural vs Social Science -chem, physics, bio as starting point -2 basic camps of natural and social science 1. positivists -explaining something in a scientific way when we can bring it under a general law -if there is going to be a scientific method of examining society there must be general laws for human behaviour 2. historicists -it is impossible to make generalizations when it comes to human beings because they do not follow the saw regularities as physical objects do because we act and move freely -historical situation is always unique - never generalizing to universal theory of revolution -Weber saw merit in both positions, and attempted to bridge the divide -in agreeing with positivist, he believed scientific understanding has to proceed from general understanding -In agreeing with historicist, he believed human beings cannot be understood by their external behaviour, you have to take into account meaning, value -when we try to understand people we are essentially misunderstanding them, we need to understand the meaning -thus social science penetrates deeper in the world, natural science is essentially surface, merely objects, humans are more complex -Webers alternative is: Verstehen /interpretative -understanding peoples motivation -empathetically entering the mind of what you are studying Step 1. direct interpretation (closer to historicist) Step 2. Explanation (closer to positivist) -explaining what people do based on the actions that motivate them -people become accustomed to gaining more and more profit based on their spiritual vision -Webers solution to dealing with the ways in which action in sociology is interpreted, analyzed. Basic onceptual ideas to better study sociology: Ideal type -abstract construct to investigate, examine and understand action going on in any group, individual -base line measuring stick used to determine similarities across different cases -not ideal in the sense that it is not a moral ideal, it is about the perfection -once the ideal type is determined you can: 1. explain deviation from the ideal -pinpointing the reason for non-rationality 2. examine causes and consequences of approximating the ideal type -idea of religion, emergence of priesthood -used as abstract images for different societies Power -ability to get other people to do things, regardless of what they want to do, even if they do not want to do it -type of domination is authority -people believe the domination is legitimate, so they follow, listen to commands because they believe the dominator has a right to command, -domination and violence becomes authority -exercised by a few over many -not only based on resources of leader, but based on the meaning that the leader has for the followers Types of legitimate authority defined by Weber 1. rational legal -impersonal roles that people have, sometimes established in a contract -contract lays out impersonal obligations according to the particular role 2. traditional -tradition and customs are sacred and have a lot to do with why people listen to others -obligation to follow someone who has a certain standing within a tradition 3.charismatic -listening to what people tell you to do because they are exceptional individuals, based on individual qualities -charisma destroys social order, disregarding tradition, do not care about existing rules, they create new rules Stratification -basically means inequality -Weber understands this in terms of power, similar to Marx -Marx basically said power depends on class, people who control means of production control society -Weber agrees with him but believes there is more to it 1. there is huge variation within property owner, many subdivisions which do not necessarily have the same interests 2. variation among propertyless (e.g. managers of companies 3. class interest does not equal class action, classes are not communities 4. distinction between status and class -factors in life that are not class-based, status was his other way of ranking, based not only on production but consumption, your style of life rather than your place in the market -position of status group is reading certain books, restaurants you eat at, speak in a certain way..people who do these things in the "right" way are better than those who do these things in the "wrong" way Tutorial 1 January 17 Structure of an introduction 1. prelude/overture -optional tone-setting introductory statement (avoid this step in paper) 2. Stasis/ common ground -directed prelude, saying what your topic is -background of the problem, context 3. problem -destabilizing condition, has consequences or costs 4. solution or promise of action -best way to proceed, not necessarily policy or plan but a way to think to future research January 23 Spirit of Capitalism (SC) -builds narrative by connecting seemingly disconnected things -eg on the one hand religion on the other cold, calculating pursuit of prophet -life orientation behind capitalism, wanting to make as much profit as possible -its supposed to be an example of a good way to live -1. key feature: industriousness, hard work is a moral duty (drawing on Benjamin Franklins work) -you have to be a person worthy of good credit, not being credit worthy is foolish and violation of moral duty, never stop working -dont be idle, everything you do should demonstrate that you are a hard-working individual -Weber makes distinction between Modern Capitalism (MC) vs Adventure Capitalism (AC) -adventure: associated with greed, taking risks, usually single acts that are not usually ethically sanctioned -modern: not just about rich people and big business, the key is the mass of society working day in and day out, through systematically implementing your plan, constant, rigorous, steady pursuit of profit -to Weber the conviction to work hard is not all that matters, but the people who control property and exploiting the proletariat -2. ideal vs material causes in history p.79-80 -MC did not emerge among the rich, it was poor people who had very little property, in small towns of America, early settlers who did not come from rich background in Europe -MC was historically considered bad, morally suspect -the idea was to work and have enough to enjoy fruits of life to stop working, but that was considered to be morally bad -spirit of capitalism is not only based on material conditions but their ideas behind it -3. Rationalism p. 80-81 -capitalist ideal attached to rationalization of economic activity -apply scientific principles to production, don't just follow customs or traditions -applying scientific thinking to heighten everything you do -quantitative eg book-keeping -comes from religion, initially from prostestantism (16thcentury), rise of new religious movement led to people accepting rationalism and the SC, transforming economic order Protestant Ethic (PE) -protestantism was movement within Christianity led by Martin Luther in 15th and 16th century on their own -every individual can have access to God, no need to go through a priest -revoultuionary because it transformed the relationship people were able to have on their own -ethic is a way of life, a practice -from religious idea to ethic to capitalism -What is PE? -calvanist ( belief that some people are elect chosen by God, God has predestined a certain amount of people to be saved, however you were never sure whether or not you were apart of the saved group which posed a challenge )is branch of protestantism that challenged people leading to 1. ascetism- self-denial, denying yourself pleasure, controlling your body, endure suffering, pleasure viewed as sin, only pleasures allowed are a part of life of a saint (sex is for reproduction not pleasure -classic feature of monks, 2. state of grace -the protestant believer adopts this way of life to achieve state of grace 3.testifying to belief -if you were part of elect your whole life would display it, thus no single act can get you to heaven it has to be everything that you do -everything you do has to be controlled, so that there are no lapses 4.methodical self-supervision -as human beings with urges you always have to check yourself -around this time, diaries were used to keep track of sinful thoughts 5.ordinary people -doesn't matter how much money you have, level of education, you just have to have your faith purveyed every aspect of your life -no such thing as religious virtuoso, everyone should be a monk 6.inner-worldly -this type of ethic says you need to go out into the world and make it purer, being a crusader for Christ -leads people to try to raise spiritual levels -What does it say about work and money? -1.the danger of wealth is enjoying it -money by itself is not bad, but money is tempting i.e using it for sinful pleasures, wasting time on sinful things -you need to be constantly working to demonstrate your godliness -2.consumption is bad -the good thing to do in life is work, working is a practice of self-control and self- denial -origin of anti-consumerism -thinking of life as the process for work, not to consume -3. Work becomes a calling (vocation) -work is everything about who you are -working as if God has called you to do it -you don't have to submit to what you were born into, you need to make your work into your calling (does my work please God? If not you have to figure out something else for yourself, does it serve my community? Is it profitable?) -How does it lead to SC? Direct economic consequences 1.working long hours -learn to endure pain, tedious jobs 2.makes standardization acceptable -buying functional, standard things, nothing flashy -before protestant ethic, if you had money you wanted to show it off, but now people accept standardization wherein it is fine to look like everyone else, paving the way to mass markers 3.encourages people to rationally plan for the future, leading you to apply the scientific principles to your work 4.encourages people to see that profit is good 5.encourages saving which leads to capital accumulation (according to Smith) -creation of vast wealth takes place later in history Indirect -after this period people started to give in to the consumption, making money without worrying about "religious baggage" -doing so with a good heart -Iron Cage of Capitalism (so long as you're constantly investing and not breaking any rules) 2.hard-working labour force 3. ethic that accepts inequality (if you were rich your were better, if you were poor that was your own fault which was a sign that you did not have a good work ethic( valorizing winners and not caring about others) -tendency to award higher wages to "good" people who work harder 4.anti-state -people have to work on their own -p.102 whether or not you like it, you have to submit yourself January 30/13 Review from last week on Weber Religious Rejections of the World -trying to make money in a methodical way -primarily interested in religions that he calls salvation religions, being saved from the world which is sinful, corrupt, depraved -idea of salvation, whether or not its true is one of the most powerful forces in history -when people believe they are not governed by rules and conventions of society as it is -transformative religion, love thy neighbor, spiritual brothers, not just blood brothers -connected to ethic brotherliness i.e. human beings need to love one another -two different ways that religion relate to the world Inner-worldly Other-worldly Active -world is depraved but we can convert people and make it better -active asceticism -puritan ------------------------------------- -tool of God - we must be active to make it better Passive -not exactly called -accepting things, and let them be ------------------------------------- -mysticism, meditative contemplative -more and more ethic of brotherliness comes into conflict with the world -it becomes even more exacerbated since yoi become single minded in one sphere in life according to their own principles -1st sphere: Economy -supposed to treat people in impersonal way, money has no face, treating everyone the same way according to the principles of business in order to be a good business person -goes against brotherly love which says that you have to love, businessman thinks that would be naive -Sources of tension: -Active ascetism you need to care about elected people -Mysticism: knowing the economy is corrupt but dont try to transform it, so you withdraw These are two ways to reconcile the economy and religon -2nd sphere: Political -salvation religion conflict with politics because it claims the right to reorder the world from scratch -sources of tension in politics: -impersonality, treating people as interchangeable parts, apply universal standards to individuals - power, politics is inevitably about power and hierarchy (religion is about equality, all souls are equal) -violence in another location of conflict, the state have this agency, thus violence is inherent aspect of state (from religious perspective war is seen as brother killing brother) -real politik, is reasons of government that are purely interest-oriented -patriotism the state claims the right to age war, which creates sacrifice and commitment to that state forming a bond (which can rival what religions create, since life can have meaning now by dying for your country) -consecrates death, when you die in war you know that you are dying for something, state can almost become alternative type of religion -how to reconcile religion with politics: crusade or passivism ("you cannot hurt me because i am not of this world") -3rd sphere: art -salvation religions are often anti-pleasure, world of art says pleasure is good -meaning and form (religion says outward appearance doesn't matter, art says it does) -art for art sake (art itself provides an escape from "meaninglessness" of life) -4th sphere: sex -brotherly love vs sexuality -the tension is when sex becomes eroticism (application of methodical principles of sexuality), threat of irrationalism -salvation religion says our bodies are toward lust, on the eroticism they said it isnt sinful and we ought to celebrate it -Salvation religion believes it is a very personal activity, commitment to lover could be threat to God, so it has to look brutal, can only be shared between two people (exclusivity) which can be seen as loss of brotherly love -in eroticism losing yourself to the other is a good thing The Rise of Rationalism 1. science 2. art -rational organization of sound, according to theory, is a western invention -allowing people to compose in much more sophisticated way 3.architecture -producing domes and vaults 4. universities -people were organized by function, by disciplines in a systematic kind of way 5.bureaucracy -applying rational principles to organizations, according to principles of efficiency and rationality 6. constitutional states -essentially a set of principles that are rationally defended 7. capitalism -constant regulation of your activity, corporate structures, planning -Weber known as great theologist of bureaucracy Bureaucracy and Charisma Requirements: 1.jurisditional areas -organization organized according to function, each function has their own rules they abide by e.g. VP, -authority rests on these rules, thus people are loyal to rules and to office, not to a particular person (determined by heredity) 2. office hierarchy -lower, offices, system of appeals (i.e. line bureaucracy) -defines nature of success in a career, working your way up the ladder 3. files -living memory, that can be tracked and controlled systematically 4. office management 5. full-time job -takes a lot of training 6. general rules -cannot make ad hoc decisions that apply to one person 7. appointed -must be appointed to move up, depending on your superior for your advancement -utterly dependent on person above, loyal to internal function of company 8. salaries -reward is based on rank in organization 9. ethos of office -demands of your function and your job becomes your vocation and life's work -doing what your office requires even if you disagree -bureaucrats are supposed to stay out of political fray Why are bureaucracies so powerful? 1. they are impersonal -people in bureaucracy work without bringing their person into things, leaving qualms behind 2. long memories -due to files that are stored 3. hierarchical -this makes them effective and efficient, command structure 4. cheaper than alternative Alternative to bureaucratic organization: collegial i.e. people who are colleagues who have equal say Why is bureaucracy becoming more widespread? 1. expanding inequality -involves non-democratic rule to a high degree -always elements of secrecy, hiding knowledge in inner working to control most powerful asset i.e. their knowledge 2. leveling -leveling of social and economic differences -applying universal rules to everybody 3. always expanding -since it is most effective peak of rationalization it is always growing 4. Indestructibility -Livelihood depends on success of organizations Routinizaton of Charisma 1. person with extraordinary qualities 2. emotional community, followers are committed to this way of life, thus no specific organized roles 3.creative 4. anti-bureaucratic -strategies of passing down charisma are through siblings, or ceremony which creates another set of rules Tutorial 2 January 31 -claim is something that is debatable, something that can be supported -best interpretation of what Weber wrote, then supporting it with evidence Essay question: what does Weber mean by "rationalization"? -disenchantment of the world, in terms of capitalization, or bureaucracy -he talked about the rise of science and art -capitalist -active oriented then a self-assessment -came about in the west because of a religious group: Calvinist protestants -once they adopted this set of behaviours and attitudes, others jumped on the wagon to keep up, competing with others -capitalism is constant race to revolutionize means of production, since this gave Calvanist an advantage everyone else wanted to keep up Invididual/structural -impersonal rationality vs protestant calvanism which was personal -in terms of individual motivations, but if everyone is doing it at the same time it is motivated by broader structural factor Capitalism(dynamic)/Bureaucracy (static) -in one case rationality leads to creativity, in one way it does not -not only in terms of the social structure but individuals act in the same way because there are rules to abide by -interplay between individual action and so
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