SOCI 301/321 Foundations of Social Thought

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1 SOCI 301/321 Foundations of Social Thought Session 12 MAX WEBER (Cont d) Lecturer: Dr. Dan-Bright S. Dzorgbo, UG Contact Information: College of Education School of Continuing and Distance Education 2014/ /2017 godsonug.wordpress.com/blog

2 Session Overview Overview This session concludes the works, concepts and views of Max Weber Goals and Objectives At the end of the session, you should be able to: identify and explain further his leading ideas and views about the nature of society and human behaviour compare and contrast his ideas and views with the earlier founders you have studied apply his ideas and theories to understand society, aspects of it and human behavior Slide 2

3 Session Outline The key topics to be covered in the session are as follows: The Spirit of capitalism Religion and the rise of capitalism Weber and Social Stratification Weber and Marx Slide 3

4 Reading List ALLAN K. (2005) EXPLORATIONS IN CLASSICAL SOCIOLOGICAL THEORY: SEEING THE SOCIAL WORLD, LONDON: PIN FORGE PRESS ASHLEY D. AND D. M. ORENSTEIN (2001) SOCIOLOGICAL THEORY: THE CLASSICAL STATEMENTS, BOSTON: ALLYN AND BACON. DZORGBO, D-B. S. (2013) SOCIOLOGICAL THEORY: CLASSICAL IDEAS AND THEIR APPLICATION IN THE AFRICAN CONTEXT, ACCRA: WOELI PUBLISHING SERVICES DZORGBO D-B. S. (2009) SOCIOLOGY: FOUNDATIONS OF SOCIAL THOUGHT: LEGON-ACCRA: CENTER FOR DISTANCE EDUCATION, UNIVERSITY OF GHANA. RITZER G. (20O8) SOCIOLOGICAL THEORY, BOSTON: MCGRAW HILL RITZER G. & DOUGLAS J. GOODMAN, (2004) CLASSICAL SOCIOLOGICAL THEORY, BOSTON: MCGRAW HILL Slide 4

5 Weďer: Major CoŶĐepts ;CoŶt d Meaning of the Spirit of capitalism Types of rationality: (i) Substantive rationality and (ii) formal rationality Slide 5

6 Weďer: Major CoŶĐepts ;CoŶt d Religion and the rise of capitalism first in the West The Protestant Ethic and the spirit of capitalism The teachings of John Calvin and how it indirectly promoted ethics and attitudes that conduced to the development of rational capitalist activities The concept of predestination Religious Anxieties Work as a vocation Slide 6

7 Weďer: Major CoŶĐepts ;CoŶt d Weber and the institutional theory of capitalism development The role of the state and institutions in the genesis of capitalism Slide 7

8 Weďer: Major CoŶĐepts ;CoŶt d Weber and Social Stratification Weber and Marx: Weďer s posthuŵous dialogue with the ghost of Marx Weber opposes or complements Marx? Compare Weber and Marx Slide 8

9 Max Weďer: CoŶĐepts ;CoŶt d By verstehen Weber meant that sociologists should be interested in the personal meanings people attach to their behaviours. Verstehen is thus a method of being able to put oneself in the shoes of others iŷ order to gaiŷ iŷsight iŷto others persoŷs behaviour. The understanding of meanings people attach to their behaviours. By value free sociology Weber meant that sociologists in their professional work should not let their personal values, preferences or biases introduce in their work so that they should be able to generate objective knowledge Weber also asked that sociologists should construct ideal type concepts: Ideal type is a description of the essential characteristic s of a phenomenon or some aspect of society, a description that brings out its essential features in a pure and ideal manner. With this, sociologists would then observe how the reality conforms to or diverges from such an ideal type description: e.g. bureaucracy Weber believed that social evolution entails increasing rationalization of every aspect of society: Humans beings become more calculative in their actions and behaviours, they think of cost and benefits of a particular action before executing it and society also becomes organized to achieve profits and efficiency. This rationalization and concern for technical efficiency would not always make us happy and we would appear to be trapped in an iron cage of rationality from which we cannot extricate ourselves: human beings would become disenchanted with modernity and rationalization. Slide 9

10 Conclusion: Durkheim, Marx and Weber Durkheim laid emphasis on how society through its institutions, norms, values, etc. exert pressure on humans social facts as the subject matter of sociologists Durkheim was interested in social order, what holds society and individuals together hence social solidarity is a theme running through his work Whereas others were concerned with social order, Marx discovered conflict is society and the exploitation of the many by the few and predicted that societal change would lead to the development of a more socially just and humane society Weber asked that sociologists discover the motives for human actions through the method of verstehen and sociologists should not let their values intrude into their professional work. Whereas some sociologists saw modernity as progressive Weber indicated that societal evolution would mean increasing rationality in the affairs of humans to the point that humans would become disenchanted with the modern world Slide 10

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