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2007-10-16 - Max Weber 1 The Central Question of Occidental...

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Max Weber 1. The Central Question of Occidental Modernity a. The bureaucratic state b. Capitalist firms c. Modern science 2. The Theory of Action a. Action vs. Behavior Reasons Motives Interpretation / understanding Causes Laws explanation Central Question Centers around occidental modernity 1 st question a. How come that only in the west, and not outside, there emerges modernity Societal, economical, and cultural 2 nd question a. Inquiry into the causes b. What causes modern society to emerge, and how do we explain why this does not emerge outside of the west and not at another time Historical comparative sociology a. Compared with Marx b. It is the equivalent in social sciences to experiments c. We distinguish experimental and non experimental social science d. Experimental Psychology and small group research e. Non-experimental Most social sciences are non-experimental Difficulty naming causality f. Randomization Participants randomly assigned to a control group or a experimental groups That treatment is given to experimental groups The control group is not subject to experimental treatment The control group and experimental groups are supposed to have identical traits that would affect findings These experiments are good in creating causal effects because they are randomized in a closed setting g. In the absence of controlled environments, social scientists must use historical comparison One cannot study the rise of capitalism in a laboratory
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In order to understand the causal variables, one must understand the differences in capitalist and non capitalist societies The control group is the historical cases Problems 1. Historical comparison results in a weak causal argument 2. In the absence of experimental records, there is limited support for causal relations 3. What causes capitalism can only be answered if aware from star of this difficulty 4. Macro social phenomena is faced with a limited number of cases 5. There is also a problem of multicausality a. there is not always just one cause b. In experiments, one can systematically manipulate variables that matter (can isolate causal factors better) In comparative historical sociology, one cannot manipulate multiple variables easily h.
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