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Book part
Publication date: 2 December 2013

Milan Zafirovski

To reexamine the Weber Thesis pertaining to the relationship between ascetic Protestantism – especially Calvinism – and modern capitalism, as between an economic “spirit”…

Abstract

Purpose

To reexamine the Weber Thesis pertaining to the relationship between ascetic Protestantism – especially Calvinism – and modern capitalism, as between an economic “spirit” and an economic “structure,” in which the first is assumed to be the explanatory factor and the second the dependent variable.

Design/methodology/approach

The chapter provides an attempt to combine theoretical-empirical and comparative-historical approaches to integrate theory with evidence supplied by societal comparisons and historically specific cases.

Findings

The chapter identifies the general sociological core of the Weber Thesis as a classic endeavor in economic sociology (and thus substantive sociological theory) and separates it from its particular historical dimension in the form of an empirical generalization from history. I argue that such a distinction helps to better understand the puzzling double “fate” of the Weber Thesis in social science, its status of a model in economic sociology and substantive sociological theory, on the one hand, and its frequent rejection in history and historical economics, on the other. The sociological core of the Thesis, postulating that religion, ideology, and culture generally deeply impact economy, has proved to be more valid, enduring, and even paradigmatic, as in economic sociology, than its historical component establishing a special causal linkage between Calvinism and other types of ascetic Protestantism and the “spirit” and “structure” of modern capitalism in Western society at a specific point in history.

Research limitations/implications

In addition to the two cases deviating from the Weber Thesis considered here, it is necessary to investigate and identify the validity of the Thesis with regard to concrete historical and empirical instances.

Originality/value

The chapter provides the first effort to systematically analyze and distinguish between the sociological core and the historical components of the Weber Thesis as distinct yet intertwined components.

Details

Social Theories of History and Histories of Social Theory
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78350-219-6

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 5 June 2007

Joel A. Ryman and Craig A. Turner

The purpose of this paper is to provide an overview of conceptions and misconceptions relating to Weberian thought after 100 years of synthesis.

1106

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to provide an overview of conceptions and misconceptions relating to Weberian thought after 100 years of synthesis.

Design/methodology/approach

Extensions of the theories espoused are discussed and a brief review of several relevant empirical research projects is highlighted. Weberian theory is taken as the basis for the discussion of the paper. Its fundamental assertions are discussed and current discussions elucidated. Modern (post‐1980) research directions and findings are summarized for helping the scholar understand the current state of Weberian research and the potential for future paths.

Findings

There are numerous areas for future theoretical and empirical exploration discussed. Such areas as the effects of the Protestant work ethic on social networks across multi‐cultural (of which religion and religiousity play a role) boundaries and the dynamics of cultural change within, and between cultural dimensions will provide ever‐changing opportunities for at least another century. Inter and intra‐national diversity and its dynamics will also provide munificence in this field of study.

Originality/value

This paper provides scholars a brief review of the status of Weberian research and should evoke new thought related to this theoretical base as well. With the renewal of interest in entrepreneurship and its effects on communities, this area should be a fertile field for researchers, practitioners, and the public in general.

Details

Journal of Enterprising Communities: People and Places in the Global Economy, vol. 1 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1750-6204

Keywords

Abstract

Details

The Perspective of Historical Sociology
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78743-363-2

Article
Publication date: 1 March 1981

Michael Lessnoff

The celebrated “Weber thesis” is, in essence, an assertion of causal connections among four terms, namely the “protestant ethic” (PE), the “spirit of capitalism” (SC)…

Abstract

The celebrated “Weber thesis” is, in essence, an assertion of causal connections among four terms, namely the “protestant ethic” (PE), the “spirit of capitalism” (SC), “modern western capitalism” (MWC) and the “industrial revolution” (IR), as follows:

Details

International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, vol. 1 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-333X

Abstract

Details

The Emerald Guide to Max Weber
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78769-192-6

Article
Publication date: 1 March 1985

Tomas Riha

Nobody concerned with political economy can neglect the history of economic doctrines. Structural changes in the economy and society influence economic thinking and…

1789

Abstract

Nobody concerned with political economy can neglect the history of economic doctrines. Structural changes in the economy and society influence economic thinking and, conversely, innovative thought structures and attitudes have almost always forced economic institutions and modes of behaviour to adjust. We learn from the history of economic doctrines how a particular theory emerged and whether, and in which environment, it could take root. We can see how a school evolves out of a common methodological perception and similar techniques of analysis, and how it has to establish itself. The interaction between unresolved problems on the one hand, and the search for better solutions or explanations on the other, leads to a change in paradigma and to the formation of new lines of reasoning. As long as the real world is subject to progress and change scientific search for explanation must out of necessity continue.

Details

International Journal of Social Economics, vol. 12 no. 3/4/5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0306-8293

Book part
Publication date: 16 April 2014

Roger Friedland

This article examines Max Weber’s theory of value spheres as a basis for a polytheistic religious sociology of institutional life. Weber’s approach implies institutional…

Abstract

This article examines Max Weber’s theory of value spheres as a basis for a polytheistic religious sociology of institutional life. Weber’s approach implies institutional theory as a form of comparative religion. Two problems present themselves. If the values of the spheres are to be considered as “gods,” they do not align easily with Weber’s sociology of religion. Given that love was central both as a driver and a constituent in Weber’s understanding of salvation religions, it also implies that love be incorporated into our theorizing of institutional life, something entirely absent in the way we think about enduring forms of social organization. Taking the second seriously may enable us to fabricate a solution to the first.

Details

Religion and Organization Theory
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78190-693-4

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 2 September 2014

Milan Zafirovski

The paper considers whether and how Calvinism as a specific type of religion, ideology, and social system impacts political democracy in modern society. In contrast to the…

Abstract

Purpose

The paper considers whether and how Calvinism as a specific type of religion, ideology, and social system impacts political democracy in modern society. In contrast to the previous sociological and related literature assuming only a positive or negative linear effect, the paper proposes that Calvinism exerts mixed positive-negative and non-linear effects on democracy. The purpose of this paper is to aim at making a contribution to the sociological theory and research on Calvinism and democracy and modern society in general.

Design/methodology/approach

A combination of comparative and historical sociological methodology.

Findings

The main proposition and finding is that whether Calvinism is likely to have a positive or negative impact on democracy is the function of its specific position within social structure and its concrete phase of development. Thus, different positions of Calvinism in social structure are linked to its differential consequences in aggregate for democracy, and various stages of its development to time-variable non-linear effects in sequence.

Originality/value

This is a relatively novel finding innovating and expanding on the literature's assumption that Calvinism has a structurally uniform, either positive or negative, and linear, time-constant effect on democracy.

Details

International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, vol. 34 no. 9/10
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-333X

Keywords

Book part
Publication date: 16 December 2003

Lauren Langman and Katie Cangemi

Globalization, advanced by technologies of production and information, created seamless world markets with profound impacts on the world economy. Vast amounts of wealth…

Abstract

Globalization, advanced by technologies of production and information, created seamless world markets with profound impacts on the world economy. Vast amounts of wealth have been created, but that wealth has been unequally distributed. Such inequality has meant that large numbers of young people have not been able to find the kinds of jobs and careers that provide the “goods” life extolled in a consumer society. Nor do the dominant values of rationality, neo-liberalism or secularism hold much appeal. These conditions have encouraged the emergence of a number of subcultures of transgression, identity-granting communities of meaning which provide members with a sense of community with recognition and empowerment. As many such subcultures repudiate dominant norms, we note how they resemble the medieval carnival, which Bakhtin showed was a time and place of inversion, transgression, and celebration of the grotesque. It allowed the common people encapsulate realms of agency to articulate disdain and resistance. Yet this served to reproduce the dominant system.

In much the same way, insofar as globalization is intimately tied to cities, we have seen the growing importance of cities as nodal points for global commerce as well as sites for entertainment and tourism. These factors, together with the longstanding anonymity and toleration of the city, have become focal points for the emergence of a number of oppositional subcultures. They include those who embrace extreme body modification, numerous forms of body adornment through piercings (rings, posts, studs), tattoos, and surgical modifications such as implanted horns, furrows, or split tongues. Following Simmel, adornment can be seen as a means of inclusion within a group and differentiation from others. The practitioners of extreme body modification label themselves “urban primitives,” who see themselves rejecting global modernity, the occupation-based status hierarchies of the dominant occupational system and its shallow, materialistic culture. They see themselves as a moment of the “transvaluation of values” in which Dionysian passion triumphs over Apollonian control and restraint. This is especially evident in various genital decorations in which what heretofore has been private and exposure was a matter of shame. There has been a “cultural transformation of the pubic sphere.” While such groups find community, identity and recognition, they must also be understood as a key ingredient of the city in a global age in which diversity, cosmopolitanism, and the offbeat constitute essential moments of urban ambience.

Details

The City as an Entertainment Machine
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-0-76231-060-9

Abstract

Details

The Emerald Guide to Talcott Parsons
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-83982-654-2

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