Developmt of Sociology
Developmt of Sociology SOC 310
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This 4 page Class Notes was uploaded by Miss Brock Schinner on Tuesday September 8, 2015. The Class Notes belongs to SOC 310 at University of Oregon taught by Staff in Fall. Since its upload, it has received 25 views. For similar materials see /class/187171/soc-310-university-of-oregon in Sociology at University of Oregon.
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Date Created: 09/08/15
Sociology 310 Winter 2009 Lecture Notes on Max Weber Verstehen German word for quotunderstandingquot Used to describe Weber39s approach to sociological explanation which emphasizes the need to develop an empathic understanding of the subjective meanings and motives of social action Ideal types Oversimplified models of various types of social action that seek to capture the essential logic or rationality of those actions These serve as heuristic devices for making deductions or formulating hypotheses Real events always deviate from ideal types because of the complex interaction of different motives and the modifying effect of nonrational action Factvalue distinction Unlike many interpretative theorists Weber maintains that facts can and should be kept separate from values In principle facts can be determined objectively by science Values are a matter of cultural norms or personal faith the truth of which cannot be decided by science Types of social action 0 Rational action 0 Purposive means ends rationality action that rationally calculates and selects among different means according to which best or most efficiently attains the actor39s chosen goals 0 Value rationality action that done in conformity with absolute moral or ethical values independently of any assessment of the probable success or ultimate consequences of such action 0 Non rational action 0 Affective emotional action action determined by the emotional state of the actor 0 Traditional habitual action action determined by the actor39s habitual or customary ways of behaving Types of legitimate authority 0 Legal rational authority based on a belief in the legality of rules or laws and the right of officials to enforce those rules or laws eg a judge or policeman Legal authority is the characteristic form or authority exercised by modern bureaucracies where orders are given by duly appointed or elected officials based on written rules and regulations Traditional authority based on the belief in the validity or sacred quality of longstanding traditions e g a monarchy or rule by village elders Charismatic authority based on devotion to the sacred or superhuman qualities of an extraordinarily charismatic leader e g a Ghandi or Hitler The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism Modern capitalism is de ned for Weber by a historically unique quotspiri quot which he calls quotinnerworldly asceticismquot that motivates a particular form of social action This spirit combines 1 an passionate pursuit of unlimited wealth with 2 a renunciation of worldly pleasure through consumption of wealth These motives lead to the rational reorganization of production based on rigorous calculation maximization of productive efficiency and high levels of reinvestment This contrasts with economic motives in precapitalist societies where people are usually content with a level of production that meets basic needs consume most of what they produce and prefer leisure over increased income or production Protestantism and capitalism statistical association between Protestantism and capitalism We might imagine that capitalism materialism would only ourish where there is a weakening of religion idealism yet the opposite appears true Protestantism particularly Calvinism represented an intensi cation not a relaxation of religious discipline On the surface Protestantism does not appear sympathetic toward capitalism e g condemns usury What then is the connection Weber says the connection is indirect and psychological rather than direct and logical Major tenets of Calvinism allpowerful God world exists for Gods glory not for human purposes purposes of God are incomprehensible to mankind salvation cannot be achieved by good works or ritual absolution predestination only a few are chosen in advance for salvation Psychological results extreme anxiety over salvation search for a quotsignquot of salvation antagonism to sensuous culture denial of pleasure economic success seen as a possible sign of salvation treating the ethical pursuit of one39s vocation as a religious quotcallingquot intense worldly activity positive evaluation of economic pursuits as long as they avoid luxury quotinnerworldly asceticismquot Weber s conclusion Religious value commitments Protestantism provided the missing link that explains why capitalism emerged in the West at a particular point in history and not elsewhere Once it was well established however capitalism became selfsustaining and no longer needed this religious motivation Criticisms of Weber39s Protestant Ethic thesis mistaken about timing capitalism often preceded Protestantism confuses cause and effect Protestantism the effect not the cause exaggerates theological differences between Protestantism and Catholicism naively accepts the piousness of early capitalists relative commercial success of Protestants and Jews more likely explained by their exclusion from traditional avenues of gaining status downplays structural preconditions for capitalist industry Weber39s later writings Less emphasis placed on the role of Protestant beliefs in the origins of modern capitalism More attention give to structural preconditions bureaucratic state pacif1ed large territories broke down market barriers standardized taxation and currency instituted rationally calculable law church and state bureaucracies promoted literacy and technologies of writing and record keeping independent towns broadened rights of citizenship freeing people from feudal obligations and allowing more autonomous economic activity Economy and Society Class Status and Party Bases of social inequality and collective action Classes social groups that experience common quotlife chancesquot based on the market returns to their assets labor skills forms of property Only rarely do classes become bases for collective action Status groups groups that are ranked in terms of their social honor or prestige and that commonly use some identifiable characteristic race language religion etc as the basis for differentiating themselves from others Typically have high levels of social interaction within group and practice a common lifestyle A frequent basis of collective action Parties voluntary associations that form sometimes on a class basis sometimes on the basis of status groups and sometimes as purely opportunistic coalitions for the intended purpose of acquiring control over authoritative institutions especially the state The state s power is based first and foremost on its monopoly over the legitimate use of violence Bureaucracy Characteristics of bureaucratic organization hierarchicalorganization official actions bound by written rules and subject to systematic control from above
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