Max Weber - Max Weber Methodology • • • Focused on...

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Max Weber Methodology Focused on substantive work- substantive problems Sociology seeks to formulate type concepts and uniformities of empirical processes History is oriented to the causal analysis and explanation of individual actions, structures, and personalities possessing cultural significance. His sociology was oriented to devlp. Of clear concepts so that he could perform a causal analysis of historical phenomena. Debate in Germany: Positivists said history (natural science) was composed of general (nomothetic) laws and subjectivists reduced history (radically diff) to idiosyncratic (idiographic) actions and events Sociologists must separate empirical world from the conceptual universe that they construct. Weber felt history was concerned w/individuality and generality. Unification accomplished through the develp. And utilization of general concepts (ideal types) in study of individuals, events or societies. Verstehen “Understanding”- verstehen derived from field of hermeneutics Hermeneutics- a special approach to the understanding and interpretation of published writings. Goal was to understand the thinking of the author and basic structure of the text. Weber used tools of herm. To understand actors, interactions and all of human history Involved w/ doing systematic and rigorous research rather than simply getting a “feeling” for a text or social phenomenon. – rational procedure of study Susan Hekman- technique aimed at understanding culture P.A. Munich—to understand action we must 1) identify the sense of the action as intended by the actor 2) recognize the context in which the action belongs and makes sense Causality The probability that an event will be followed or accomplished by another event Study- “relationship btw Protestantism and spirit of capitalism”- protestant ethic was 1 of causal factor in the rise of modern spirit of capitalism. His belief that b/c we have a special understanding of social life (verstehen), the causal knowledge of the social sciences is different from the casual knowledge of the natural science. Related to efforts to come to grips w. conflict btw nomothetic and idiographic knowledge. Nomothetic - argue there is necessary relation. Among social phenomena Idiographic- see only random relation. Among entities
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Weber took middle position- adequate causality - the best we can do in soc Is make probalistic statements about the relation. Btw a social phenomenon; if x occurs, then it is probable that y will occur. The goal is to estimate the degree to which a certain effect is favored by certain conditions. Ideal Types Best known contribution to contemp. Sociology Ideal type - concept constructed by a social scientist, on the basis of his or her interests and theoretical orientation to capture the essential features of some social phenomenon. Heuristic devices; useful and helpful in doing empirical research and understanding
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This note was uploaded on 04/17/2008 for the course SOC 213 taught by Professor N/a during the Spring '08 term at Southwestern.

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Max Weber - Max Weber Methodology • • • Focused on...

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