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Final

Winter final.docx

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Department
Sociology
Course Code
SY203
Professor
Ken Morrison

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1 SOCIOLOGICALTHEORY: WINTER FINAL EXAMINATION Leroux 1.0 Definitions 1.1 “Spirit” of Capitalism The “spirit” of capitalism is a term used by Max Weber in his study known as The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism, to explain the three duties that shaped the philosophy of Western 1 capitalism and Western economic life. The first of these duties was the unrelenting commitment to the increase of capital far beyond the personal needs of the individual. In other words, the first duty is to create as much profit as possible, regardless of how much is actually needed to survive. The 2 second duty listed by Weber is the devotion to work and potential profit gain coup2ed with self- denial, or self-regulation, and the surrendering of indulgence and gluttony. This duty allowed for the individuals to save all of their profit. Finally, the third duty explained by Weber is the use of self-limitation in order to avoid using the wealth for means of personal satisfaction. To spend profit private was seen as “murdering” wealth, and instead, was expected to be put back into business in order to acquire more wealth. If an individual failed to comply with these religious duties, they were given a “slacker identity” for their lack of overall self-regulation and obligation to the 2 capitalist philosophy. The Prot2stant work ethic outlined four duties that linked religion to hard work and economic success. First, was the absolute duty to work as hard as physically and mentally possible with little to no limit on the work being done. Second, was the duty to impose work and self discipline for the purpose of self-regulation. Third, was the duty to use self-denial in order to control the material temptations of the world such as gambling or excessive spending. Finally, the fourth duty was the save money and to resist spending the profit because “a penny saved is a penny 2 earned.” 1.2 Traditional domination Traditional domination is one of three types of legitimate authority as described by Weber. Traditional domination is defined as a type of legitimate domination dependent on tradition, customs 2 and the “sanctity of age old rules and powers”. Many leaders in the environment of a traditionally dominated society reach their position through inheritance of the role. Adefining aspect of traditional domination from other types of legitimate authority is the dominance of personal authority, as opposed to legal statutes regulating the laws within the population. Instead, the traditional leader runs the 1 Morrison, K. (2011). ndrx, Durkheim, Weber: Formations of Modern Social Thought. 273-446. 2 ed. London: Sage Publication Ltd. 2 Morrison, K. Sociological Theory lecture. Wilfrid Laurier University. March 2014. 2 system, while the followers are obliged to follow out of personal loyalty. This notion derives from the 3 traditional belief that the leader is owed respect and honor from the followers. Monarchies as well as landholders of the feudal era illustrate this type of legitimate authority best, as political authority is 1 legitimized on the basis of inherited titles that assign power to the ruler. Although traditional power is functional in some cases, in other cases, the political authority exercises power outside of the law (also referred to as the edict), and thus creates dictatorships or other corrupt systems. This is generally when 2 the power is traditional and absolute. The authority of the leader is obtained in two ways, these being (1) the prestige conferred by tradition coupled with the validity of the of the ruler’s command and (2) rulers gain power through hereditary means or titles assigned to them by prior rulers. The relationship between the ruler and the follower is formed on the basis that the ruler is owed respect and power by their followers, as a result of traditional roles and beliefs. The role taken on by the ruler is not governed by law, statutes or regulations as seen in legal domination, and instead is based on inherited or assigned power. 4 1.3 Charismatic domination Charismatic domination is one of three types of political authority in Weber’s work. Weber uses the term “charisma” to emphasize the extraordinary characteristic of an individual, in which they are viewed as having remarkable powers and rising above ordinary people and everyday life. The leader’s 2 claim to legitimacy originates from two sources, these being (1) the religious sphere and the belief that the leader has legitimate powers (ability to see into the future, close relationship to God, etc.) and (2) that which derives from the devotion to the leader, establishing an emotional bond between the 52 followers and the leader. These leaders are generally viewed as people that have amazing political 3 Morrison, p. 369-370 4 Morrison, p. 365 5 Sociological Theory, March 2014 3 SOCIOLOGICALTHEORY: WINTER FINAL EXAMINATION Leroux powers that can lead to the emancipation of the oppressed, which is done by bringing together the 2 religious and political sphere as seen by Martin Luther King Jr., Mahatma Gandhi and Mother Teresa. In order to prove legitimacy, the leaders may have to showcase their abilities before they gain a devoted following.An example of this would be Martin Luther King Jr.’s successful attempt to prove himself through his “I Have a Dream” speech, in which he opened up the eyes of thousands to the possibility of 2 a future for the oppressed people, which was inspired by a religious prophecy. Another example of a charismatic leader would be Mahatma Gandhi and his fight against British domination in India. Gandhi had little political power and no resources in order to fight against the British, but he gained a devoted following regardless based on his spiritual messages or purification and “ideal truths,” which caused the followers to view Gandhi as a literal incarnation of a holy spirit. It 1 is also possible for the leader to lose their following once their legitimacy has been disproven or fails, as seen by Hitler. 2 1.4 Legal domination Legal domination is a subcategory of the three types of political authority and legitimacy as 2 described by Max Weber. Legal domination is a system in which the legitimacy of political authority lies within the law, opposed to the leader. The leader is elevated to the office in order to give commands, but has little control over regulation of the basic principles of the law. This is based on the virtue of the “statute” which guidelines formal regulations through the legislature and is created 2 rationally through the law, instead of outside of the law by the leader. Laws are only seen as legitimate once they go through the proper legal procedures. Examples of legal domination lie in modern democracies such as Europe, Canada andAmerica. Amore specific example would be Canada’s 6 Morrison, p. 373-374 7 Sociological Theory, March 2014 4 democratic elections that allow citizens to vote for the potential leader. Though there are leaders that become the face of Canada, very few laws can be changed in relation to human rights and freedoms based on statutes put in place in prior years. Stephen Harper is able to issue commands and appoint certain aspects of economic and social laws, but he does not have absolute power over all law. In other words, Harper issues commands on the basis of principles of law, as opposed to his own personal authority. 1.5 Doctrine of Predestination The doctrine of predestination is a term used by Weber to reference a doctrine of salvation created by John Calvin during the 16 century. John Calvin severed his ties with the Catholic Church because they failed to recognize the rejection of material temptation to a degree that Calvin agreed with. Calvin’s theology is made up of four philosophies. The first philosophy is that God had predetermined every human’s fate prior to the creation of the world. Calvin explains that God split humanity into two halves; one being those that were saved and given a life of salvation, while the other half were damned and given a life of dishonor. The second philosophy of Calvin’s doctrine rationalized that no human would know their fate until after their death. Thirdly, Calvin explained that there is no good deed, sacrifice or redemption that could be done in order to save oneself from damnation. Finally, the fourth decree of Calvin’s doctrine states that God has abandoned the damned because of Jesus’ 8 sacrifice for the saved humans on Earth. Calvin’s doctrine brought about what Weber described as “salvation anxiety” in which many Protestants became heavily committed to work, as they felt that any 1 sign of wealth or good business was a sign of salvation from God. In addition to this, Protestants began to reevaluate their relationship with God and the world, and in turn, began to practice self-denial 8 Morrison, p. 319-325 5 SOCIOLOGICALTHEORY: WINTER FINAL EXAMINATION 1 Leroux and self-regulation. This led to the rise of the ‘spirit’of capitalism. Furthermore, Weber believes that Calvin’s emphasis on worldly rejection and self- 1 regulation caused a “psychological vehicle” that created a Protestant influenced work ethic. This work ethic coincidentally coincided with and complimented the rise of capitalism in the following centuries. 1 1.0 Essay 2.1 Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism Max Weber’s work published in the early 1900’s titled The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism examines the role of religion, specifically the influence of Protestantism on the 1 development of capitalism. This work, even decades later, has proven itself to be quite accurate. First, Weber starts out by defining the meaning of the “spirit of capitalism” and using this to explain the three main duties that have ultimately shaped the Western philosophy of capitalism and economic life. Before he starts, Weber emphasizes the fact that Western economies are shown to be the 2 only economies that live by this philosophy. The three economies, as described by Weber, include (1) the commitment to an increase of capital far beyond the personal needs of the individual, (2) the ruthless dedication to work and conceivable revenue coupled with self-regulation and the relinquishing of indulgence and excess and (3) the use of self-limitation in order to prevent using the obtained capital for means of personal gratification, instead putting any profit made back into the business in order to 92 gain more. Next in Weber’s work, he covers the idea of how self-denial and self-regulation forced its way out of the religious sphere, and into the social and personal worlds of 9 Morrison, p. 313-318 6 individuals, ultimately causing the belief of “asceticism” to flow into everyday life and economics. 10 Asceticism derives from a religious context in which self-denial and denial of the material world brings an individual to a higher ethical state. This idea began to shift into the capitalist economies in the 17 th 1 century, shortly after the introduction of Calvin’s religious doctrine of predestination. Weber emphasized four duties that heavily linked hard work and economic success to religion, and this is where the connection from religion to financial achievement formed. First, was the unconditional obligation to work as hard as possible with no limit put on work. Second, was the responsibility to enforce work discipline and control for reasons of self-regulation, as this was seen as the ultimate goal. Third, was the duty to use self-denial as a practice for monitoring material temptation. Finally, the last responsibility was the obligation to save money, ultimately creating the idea that time is synonymous with money. If an individual failed to comply with any of these duties, they were often seen as slackers 2 because of their lack of self-denial and self-regulation. The sudden onset of these duties, and the commitment to them from those in the Western world is questionable and suspicious. Weber believed that there was a correlation between the change in societal norms and the release of John Calvin’s doctrine of predestination, and this, Weber argued, was called “salvation anxiety.” The basis of Calvin’s doctrine explains that humans are born into the world with a predetermined life and death in the hands of God, and neith
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