May 24, 2008

Max Weber

Max Weber

Max Weber

Max Weber appears early on in DD 201. We are introduced to him on p 12 of Book 1 Understanding Everyday Life. Here Weber is used in relation to understandings of the home which by the late 19th century at least for the poorer classes was being increasingly invaded by the forces of the state, a situation that was to continue up until the present day. Instead of 'Home' being sen as a 'Haven' from the trials and tribulations of the everyday world various agencies were taking an increasingly important role. Reiger adapts Weber's idea of 'Disenchantment' and applied it to the home. 

Weber spent a lot of time monitoring the changes from a social world that was based upon religious and magical conceptions into a world that was increasingly controlled by 'rational' and 'scientific' forms of calculation along with a growth of managerial systems to assist in this aim.

Weber also pops up again in Book 2. Here Mike Savage considers Weber's theory of class in comparison to both Marx and Pierre Bourdieu.

Unlike Marx Weber: sees no necessary connection between economic inequality (class), honour and reputation (status) and power (command).  suggests Mike Savage.

Marx thought that economic inequalities would eventually lead to a recognition of the social bonds of class through the leadership of the Working class. Marx promoted the idea of strong class identity whilst Weber didn't.

Rosemary Crompton in reading 2.3 of Book 2 p 94 gives a breakdown of Weber's sociological approach.  She points out that Weber was a 'methodological individualist'. in other words he thought that human social phenomena can be broken down into their individual parts rather than seeing abstract structures that can be independently identified as key to shaping society.

Weber believed in market determined 'life chances'.  This leads Weber into an analysis of class which is superficially similar to Marx's:

  • The working class as a whole
  • The petty-bourgeoise
  • Technicians / specialists / Lower level management
  • 'classes privileged through property and education' 

Weber thought that classes could carry a range of possible forms of class action but against Marx he considered that this wasn't necessarily the case that this would happen. He recognised that a mass of people who might be an average of the working class might temporarily identify interests but to place this on the pedestal of historical necessity is 'pseudo-scientific'.  

Max Weber Platz Munich

Max Weber Platz Munich. Nice to see sociologists gaining recognition within public space sommewhere.


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