Max Weber

Philosopher, Author

1864 – 1920

105

Who was Max Weber?

Maximilian Karl Emil "Max" Weber was a German sociologist, philosopher, and political economist whose ideas influenced social theory, social research, and the entire discipline of sociology. Weber is often cited, with Émile Durkheim and Karl Marx, as among the three founding architects of sociology.

Weber was a key proponent of methodological antipositivism, arguing for the study of social action through interpretive means, based on understanding the purpose and meaning that individuals attach to their own actions. Weber's main intellectual concern was understanding the processes of rationalisation, secularisation, and "disenchantment" that he associated with the rise of capitalism and modernity, and which he saw as the result of a new way of thinking about the world.

Perhaps Weber is best known for his thesis combining economic sociology and the sociology of religion, elaborated in his book The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism, in which he proposed that ascetic Protestantism was one of the major "elective affinities" associated with the rise in the Western world of market-driven capitalism and the rational-legal nation-state. Against Marx's "historical materialism," Weber emphasised the importance of cultural influences embedded in religion as a means for understanding the genesis of capitalism. The Protestant Ethic formed the earliest part in Weber's broader investigations into world religion: he would go on to examine the religions of China, the religions of India and ancient Judaism, with particular regard to the apparent non-development of capitalism in the corresponding societies, as well as to their differing forms of social stratification.

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Born
Apr 21, 1864
Erfurt
Also known as
  • Maximilian Carl Emil Weber
  • Maximilian Karl Emil "Max" Weber
  • Maximilian Karl Emil Weber
Parents
Siblings
Spouses
Religion
  • Protestantism
Ethnicity
  • Germans
Nationality
  • Kingdom of Prussia
Profession
Education
  • Doctorate, Humboldt University of Berlin
    Legal history
    (1884 - 1889)
  • Ruprecht Karl University of Heidelberg
    Law
    (1882 - 1884)
Employment
  • University of Vienna
  • Humboldt University of Berlin
  • Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich
  • Ruprecht Karl University of Heidelberg
Lived in
  • Erfurt
Died
Jun 14, 1920
Munich

Submitted
on July 23, 2013

Citation

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"Max Weber." Biographies.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2022. Web. 18 Aug. 2022. <https://www.biographies.net/people/en/max_weber>.

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