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Chapter 3

Chapter 3 Weber.docx

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SOC 203
Sal Guzzo

Chapter 3: Max Webster and the Multiple Bases for Inequality - Weber feels that non economic social forces is important in determining economic influences - Rejected socialism and saw it as a greater threat to democracy and freedom than would capitalism - Disagreed with those who adopted materialistic view that ideas and beliefs are wholly products of social interaction & organization especially in sphere of economic production. o Denied the possibility of ideas influencing and generating the economic structure and behaviour rather than being mere consequences of material forces. - Movement towards bureaucracy apparent in corportations - Bureaucratization: key process in general trend of modern societies towards rationalization - Webers spheres of social structure: politics, economics, religion, education, etc were perceived to develop permenant organized systems for processing problems and people in regular routine ways - Bureaucracy seen as the only organization form capable of keeping modern complex societies in operation however had a destructive impact on human interaction and human freedom - Weber argues modern capitalism influenced by ideas and beliefs of certain ascetic protestant sects, particular Calvinism o Consistant with critique of materialism as he demonstrates how ideas like religious beliefs influence economic and social structures like capitalism The Weberian Perspective: Complexity and Pluralism in equality - societies take shape and change through one key process: the struggle between groups for control of the economy, the system of material production - 6 Areas to Webers view - 1) Probability and Causal pluralism - A Compromise to 2 opposing schools of thought: those who reject any possibility of applying techniques of natural science to predict or explain social behaviour and those positivists who contend that methods and assumptions of sociological research should be essentially identical with those of physics or chem - Restrictions concerning application of the scientific method in social research: the probabilistic nature of social inquiry and the inherent pluralism in social causation - Probability: weber refers to when discussing social phenomena - Argues X may lead to Y in some or even most instances, but rarely without exception - We can calculate the probability of X is a cause of Y but cannot ensure it will always lead to Y since its not in the nature of social processes - Dominant ideas in society are the ideas of ruling class, may be true for most of the ideas that predominate in a society but probably not for every dominant idea examined. - We can predict correctly what ideas predominate in society by examining those generated by the ruling class - Causal Pluralism: - Numerous factors not taken into account when posing a simple explanation for something - These factors most likely the cause of deviant cases, so its essential to search for multiple causes of social phenomena - Causal pluralism: seeks out social explanation by a means of a pluralistic analysis of factors that may be isolated and gauged in terms of respective causal weights. Subjective Factors and the Idealism-Materialism Debate - human beings are thinking / reasoning social actors so our behaviour is difficult to predict with cccuracy behcause we can consciously change our behaviour if made aware of predictions made by social scienctists - some human behaviour can be understood by analyzing subjective phenomena - rational action: the calculated pursuit of individual interests is predictable with a high level of certainty because one can successfully assume what subjective motives are at work in most cases o ex: actions of capatalists in the market place, where subjective interests focus on gaining profit motive or maxing wealth - Some actions are non rational: superstition, love , envy in combination of rational concerns; adds complexity, decreases precision of social research and explanation Ideas and Material Life - ideas become effective forces in history - Weber examines relationship between religious ideas and beliefs of ascetic protestant sects like the Calvinist belief that all people are predestined by god either to salvation or hell Multiple Classes in Capitalism - Weber puts more emphasis than Marx on the distribution of valued objects and the process by which some people get more than other others - He sees classes as economic categories developing out of human interaction in a market - Market is a system of competitive exachange whereby individuals buy and sell things of value in the pursuit of profit - Things of values include material goods, and services - A class is simply people sharing common situations in this market and therefore have similar economic interests and life chances - Property and lack of property are basic categories for all class situations but weber believes there are more important complexities than the simple two class model. - They are different according to the kind of property, and the kind of services that can be offered in the market - For weber class does not in itself constitute a group or community - Social classes best understood as economic classes acquired in varying degrees some subjective sense of unity and class conscious organization - Intended to delineate a range of social classes with degrees of unity or group awareness that are likely to be quite different and highly variable - Weber believes the highest degree of group consciousness and the most potential for political action and control lie with those at the top of the class hierarchy or social structure - Weber added two other classes to the propertied and propertyless by separating the bourgeoisie into those who control large amounts of property ( the big capitalists) and those who have small amounts of productive property ( the petty bourgeoisie) - Propertyless category subdivided by level of skill/training required of those who sell their services in the marketplace - Working class have manual labour power alone at their disposal, while those who have more marketable training and skills as specialists, technicians, white collared employees, civil servants - Two middle classes: o owners of small independent shops, businesses, and farms. o Salaried non-manual class with special education or skills in areas like law, medicine, science, etc - Marx saw middle class as people who would become proletarians over time as the capitalist system converts physicians, lawyers, priests, etc into paid wages labourers - Weber feels that middle class will have better economic life chances and different economic interests which identifies them as a class different from workers, and unlikely to be in social revolution - This class will expand in importance and numbers as children of workers, and the petty bourgeoisies move into market for white collared jobs in the growing bureaucratic organizations of modern society - Clear split between middle and working classes; reduces the chances that salaried employ
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