Max Weber

Weber, Max (German sociologist)

Max Weber (mäks vā´bər), 1864–1920, German sociologist, economist, and political scientist. At various times he taught at Berlin, Freiburg, Munich, and Heidelberg. One of Weber's chief interests was in developing a methodology for social science, and his works had a considerable influence on 20th-century social scientists. As a technique of sociological analysis, he devised the concept of "ideal types," generalized models of historical situations that could be used as a basis for comparing societies. He opposed the orthodox Marxian view of the time that economics was the preeminent determining factor in social causation and instead stressed the plurality and interdependence of causes. Weber emphasized the role of religious values, ideologies, and charismatic leaders in shaping societies. In his Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism (1920, tr. 1930) he developed a thesis concerning the intimate connection between the ascetic ideal fostered by Calvinism and the rise of capitalist institutions. A keen observer of politics in his own time, he first admired, then repudiated Otto von Bismarck, and he later advocated for Germany a democratic form of government somewhat on the American model. He has also been influential in using statistical sociology in the study of economic policy. Among his other books are Wirtschaft und Gesellschaft [economy and society] (4th ed. 1956) and General Economic History (1924, tr. 1927).

See From Max Weber: Essays in Sociology (with a biography and appraisal by H. H. Gerth and C. Wright Mills, 1946); studies by J. Freund (1968), A. Mitzman (1969), W. G. Runciman (1972), D. Beetham (1974), W. J. Mommsen (1974), G. Roth (1979), and J. Alexander (1983).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2015, The Columbia University Press.

Max Weber: Selected full-text books and articles

Max Weber By S. M. Miller Thomas Y. Crowell, 1963
The Protestant Ethic Debate: Max Weber's Replies to His Critics, 1907-1910 By Max Weber; David J. Chalcraft; Austin Harrington; Mary Shields Liverpool University Press, 2001
Max Weber's Sociology of Intellectuals By Ahmad Sadri Oxford University Press, 1992
Max Weber and Karl Marx By Karl Löwith; Bryan S. Turner Routledge, 1993
Max Weber & Democratic Politics By Peter Breiner Cornell University Press, 1996
Max Weber and the Destiny of Reason By Franco Ferrarotti; John Fraser M. E. Sharpe, 1982
Religion and Economic Action: A Critique of Max Weber By Kurt Samuelsson; E. Geoffrey French Harper Torchbook, 1964
Basic Concepts in Sociology By Max Weber; H. P. Secher Citadel Press, 1962
The Theory of Social and Economic Organization By Max Weber; A. M. Henderson; Talcott Parsons; Talcott Parsons Oxford University Press, 1947
Max Weber's Complete Writings on Academic and Political Vocations By Max Weber; John Dreijmanis; Gordon C. Wells Algora, 2008
The Vocation Lectures By Max Weber; David Owen; Tracy B. Strong; Rodney Livingstone Hackett, 2004
Librarian’s tip: Includes "Science as a Vocation" and "Politics as a Vocation"
The Rational and Social Foundations of Music By Max Weber; Don Martindale; Johannes Riedel; Gertrude Neuwirth; Johannes Riedel; Gertrude Neuwirth; Don Martindale Southern Illinois University Press, 1958
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