While most people are familiar with The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism, few know that during the last decade of his life Max Weber (1864-1920) also tried to develop a new way of analyzing economic phenomena, which he termed "economic sociology." Indeed, this effort occupies the central place in Weber's thought during the years just before his death. Richard Swedberg here offers a critical presentation and the first major study of this fascinating part of Weber's work. Swedberg furthermore discusses similarities and differences between Weber's economic sociology and present-day thinking on the same topic. In addition, the author shows how economic sociology has recently gained greater credibility as economists and sociologists have begun to collaborate in studying problems of organizations, political structures, social problems, and economic culture more generally. Swedberg's book will be sure to further this new cooperation.
Max Weber and The Protestant Ethic: Twin Histories presents an entirely new portrait of Max Weber, one of the most prestigious social theorists in recent history, using his most famous work, The Protestant Ethic and the "Spirit" of Capitalism, as its central point of reference. It offers an intellectual biography of Weber framed along historical lines - something which has never been done before. It re-evaluates The Protestant Ethic — a text surprisingly neglected by scholars — supplying a missing intellectual and chronological centre to Weber's life and work. Peter Ghosh suggests that The Protestant Ethic is the link which unites the earlier (pre-1900) and later (post-1910) phases of his career. He offers a series of fresh perspectives on Weber's thought in various areas — charisma, capitalism, law, politics, rationality, bourgeois life, and (not least) Weber's unusual religious thinking, which was 'remote from god' yet based on close dialogue with Christian theology. This approach produces a convincing view of Max Weber as a whole; while previously the sheer breadth of his intellectual interests has caused him to be read in a fragmentary way according to a series of specialized viewpoints, this volume seeks to put him back together again as a real individual.
For this important selection from Weber, sections of text from Weber's major works (Gesammelte, Aufsatze Zur Religionssoziologie, including The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism; General Economic History; and The Agrarian Sociology of Ancient Civilisations) have been carefully edited and substantially translated to form a coherent and integrated volume. Professor Andreski's aim has been to use Weber's own works to explain crucial turns in the evolution of societies and cultures, while eliminating the difficulties of language and frequent mistranslation which have previously made Weber so difficult and baffling for students new to his work. An essay by Andreski introduces the selections, which are centred on Weber's principal interest, the relationship between capitalism, religion and bureaucracy. He seeks to correct those misinterpretations of Weber's work which have stressed his classification, rather than his attempts to theorise and explain social phenomena on the basis of a comparitive analysis of universal historical trends. This book was first published in 1983.
"This book provides an indispensable introduction to Weber's Economy and Society, and should be mandatory reading for social scientists who are interested in Weber. The various contributions to this volume, all written by important Weberian scholars, present the culmination of decades of debates about Weber's various concepts and theories. They are sure guides in the maze of conflicting interpretations, and draw out the implications of Weber's sociology for understanding social change in the 21st century." --Gil Eyal, Columbia University "Many will value this as the best collection of essays on Max Weber in the English language. It surpasses prior studies in using Weber and the world of his endeavors as entry points into the central issues of social science today." --Richard Biernacki, University of California, San Diego