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SOC 302 Max Weber Notes

by: Paula Tattoni

SOC 302 Max Weber Notes SOC 302

Paula Tattoni

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Here are the notes for Max Weber's theories
Sociological Theory
Chenoia N. Bryant
Class Notes
sociology, SOC 302, sociological theory, max weber
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This 5 page Class Notes was uploaded by Paula Tattoni on Monday February 15, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to SOC 302 at University of Alabama - Tuscaloosa taught by Chenoia N. Bryant in Spring 2016. Since its upload, it has received 16 views. For similar materials see Sociological Theory in Sociology at University of Alabama - Tuscaloosa.


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Date Created: 02/15/16
Max Weber (Germany; 1864-1920) Tuesday, February 9, 2016 7:27 PM A Weber a Focused on structures of capitalism and inequality b Focused on the analytical independence and causality of culture/beliefs c Wrote extensively about religion d Gave particular attention to the substantive content of particular religions; emphasized the sociological significance of religious beliefs/worldviews and their relevance in shaping particular institutional practices B Weber: Sociology's Task a Study of subjectively meaningful action b Interpretive understanding of social action/behavior (individual, group, organizational, national, etc.) c Causal explanation of the course and consequences of social action i Social Action: action that is meaningfully oriented toward the behavior of others B Culture and Economics a Links 2 domains of activity: culture (beliefs/values/worldviews), economics b The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism c How religious beliefs/other-worldly concerns shape this-worldly material practices B The Protestant Ethic a Protestants more likely than Catholics to have business occupations b Spirit of (early) modern capitalism distinguished by hard work and asceticism (frugality); not by greed or self-indulgence c What accounts for this - what historical-cultural explanation can illuminate these patterns d The Reformation - 1517 i Martin Luther (1483-1546) ii Rejected the hierarchal authority structure and doctrines of the Catholic Church iii Emergence of Protestantism B Calvinist Beliefs a John Calvin (1509-1564) b Purpose of the-world activities; to serve god diligently c Individual stands alone before god (no mediating sacraments) d God's will cannot be known (no priest, etc. can interpret god's will for the individual believer) e Predestination: one's salvation already decided/pre-ordained by god; cannot change god's mind B From Belief's to Action a Individual concern with salvation (heaven/hell); what should the individual god-fearing believer do? i Idea of the calling ii Labor in a calling/a vocation; dedicated this-worldly activity to glorify god iii "rationalization" - success in this world a sign of salvation in the next world B Rationalization a He Calvinist took it as his/her duty to demonstrate proof of his/her salvation b Do this through rational, methodical self-control, self-discipline c "every hour lost to labor for the glory of god" d Avoid spontaneous enjoyment; avoid anything that would distract from work e Inject everyday life with rational methodicalness B Puritan Ethic a Hard work, combined with asceticism, produces money/profit accumulation b Save and invest the profits of labor c Expand Capitalism i Expansion of capitalism an unintended consequence of Calvinists' religious beliefs and their rationalization of those beliefs ii Expansion of individualism B John D. Rockefeller (1839-1937): Exemplary Baptist (Calvinist) a Background of frugality, thrift, and hard work b Abstained from alcohol and smoking all his life c Founded Standard Oil; greatly expanded the oil and petroleum industry d Made and invested millions of dollars e Major philanthropist f Rockefeller Center honors his legacy/success B Ideal Types a Conceptual analytical devices b Accentuated characteristics/behavior we would expect to find in looking at social phenomenon in its "pure" form c We can devise ideal typical constructs of any social phenomenon d Aids in comparative analysis (e.g. the ideal typical Protestant compared to the ideal typical Buddhist) B Social Action a Many diverse motivators/sources of social action b Meaningful action can be rational or non-rational c 4 ideal types: 2 types of rational action and two types non-rational action i Value-Rational Action 1 Commitment to a particular value (e.g. commitment to god, family, the poor, country) motivates deliberate, methodical rational action in the service of that value (e.g. the Calvinists acted rationally in regard to their beliefs about god/salvation) 2 Rationally bound to the value-motivated behavior irrespective of the costs of executing behavior consistent with the value- commitment ii Instrumental Rational Action 1 Calculating strategic action 2 Driven by a rational assessment of the costs and benefits of selecting particular courses of action 3 Rationally weigh/strategically assess the goals/ends pursued (e.g. career success versus family time), the means for achieving the goals (e.g. efficiency over friendship) ii Emotion iii Tradition B Non-Rational Action a Not all meaningful action is rational action b Meaningful social action also includes non-rational action: i Emotional Action: behavior driven by positive or negative emotions ii Tradition: action based on social habits, customs b Empirically, social action does not always or necessarily correspond to only one (ideal) type social action c Modern Society: while instrumental rational action may dominate in several spheres, there are also many instances characterized by the coexistence of varying, multiple drivers of social action B Social Action - Multidimensional a Replacing toll collectors with digitalized technology is an instrumentally rational cost-saving initiative b Motorists and collectors also motivated by i Emotional: face-to-face personal connections ii The value of socialability, preferring a slower ride but an opportunity to chat with others iii The tradition of the ritualized handing over of the toll/chatting with the toll collector B Power, Authority, Domination a Power: probability that a social actor can carry out an action despite resistance b Authority/Domination: probability that commands will be obeyed/complied with c Ideal Types of Authority i Modern Society: rational, legal authority; social relationship/institutional practices based on impersonal, rationally established rules and laws ii Traditional Society: non-rational forces, sanctity of tradition, of age- old rules and powers B Rational Legal Authority a The State: a rational legal factor b A human community that can legitimately use physical force, violence i To protect the nation's territory ii To protect the nation's security b States seek to expand their prestige/power vis-a-vis other states i Not always through subjugation/force; use of non-violent means B The State's Legitimate Use of Violence a The legitimate power of the state to use force against its citizens when it perceives an internal threat B Rational Legal Authority a Bureaucracy: formal organizations b Bureaucratic authority pervades modern society c Evident across all institutional spheres i Government ii Universities iii Economic Corporations iv The Military v Churches vi Sports Organizations b Bureaucracy: a rational, efficient way of organizing and accomplishing tasks in a modern, complex society B Characteristics of Bureaucracy a Impersonal criteria in social relations; obligations of office b Hierarchy of offices/divisions/personnel c Division of labor, specific competencies d Contractual relationships; open recruitment e Technical qualifications; certified expertise; merit; appointed not elected f Fixed salaries/benefits g Office is primary occupation h System of promotion; seniority; impersonal criteria i Workers do not own means of administration j Systematic discipline in the conduct of office/rank obligations B Charismatic Authority a Non-rational authority b Con co-exist alongside legal rational and traditional authority c Charisma: resides in the individual, personal grace/charm, charismatic personality; the charismatic individual persuades people to do things - has authority over them d Charismatic Community: unified by members' shared emotional attachment to the charismatic leader B Routinization of Charisma a Charismatic authority is temporary; resides in the individual (not in bureaucratic office/occupation) i The charism dies with the individual's death/scandal, etc.) b Charisma can be routinized through the establishment of a bureaucratic organization designed to continue the charismatic individual's legacy/mission B Social Stratification a The processes determining individuals' and groups' objective location in the system of social classes b Weber, unlike Marx, sees multiple sources/gradients of inequality/stratification: i Class: economic resources ii Status: social status/prestige/honor iii Political power B Class a Class Group: individuals who have similar life chances a result of property, income, and labor market opportunity b Property ownership a major determinant of economic resources/class c Multiple Classes: working class, lower middle class, middle class, professional/managerial/business class B Status a Legitimate claims to social esteem: family ancestry, education, club membership, style of life/consumption b Social status analytically independent of economic class; economic resources do not guarantee honor/prestige i Though class and status closely interrelated ii Contexts of economic transformation: dominance of class (economic resources) iii Economically Stable Societies: dominance of honor/social status B Power a Political groups and associations (parties) strive to influence the distribution of power in society b Political struggles over prestige/honor and the pursuit of particular goals c Many pathways to social power; some legal, some illegal B Modernity and Values a Core dilemma of modern society: tension among conflicting values: which values to pursue? b Scientific knowledge/progress cannot answer the core questions: what shall we do? How shall we live? c Science, including sociology: value-neutral d Sociologists study society with passion and objectively; attentive to "inconvenient facts" i Objective analysis of social phenomena from within the specific historical and cultural context being studied


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