ST04 CST07.Sum.Weber - Classical Sociological Theory, 4e...

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Classical Sociological Theory, 4e Ritzer Max Weber Sociological Theory Chapter 4 Classical Sociological Theory Chapter 7 CHAPTER SUMMARY Max Weber’s Methodology Max Weber (1864-1920) argued against abstract theory, and he favored an approach to sociological inquiry that generated its theory from rich, systematic, empirical, historical research. This approach required, first of all, an examination of the relationships between, and the respective roles of, history and sociology in inquiry. Weber argued that sociology was to develop concepts for the analysis of concrete phenomena, which would allow sociologists to then make generalizations about historical phenomena. History, on the other hand, would use a lexicon of sociological concepts in order to perform causal analysis of particular historical events, structures, and processes. In scholarly practice, according to Weber, sociology and history are interdependent. Weber contended that understanding, or verstehen , was the proper way of studying social phenomena. Derived from the interpretive practice known as hermeneutics, the method of verstehen strives to understand the meanings that human beings attribute to their experiences, interactions, and actions. Weber construed v erstehen as a methodical, systematic, and rigorous form of inquiry that could be employed in both macro- and micro-sociological analysis. Weber’s formulation of causality stresses the great variety of factors that may precipitate the emergence of complex phenomena such as modern capitalism. Moreover, Weber argued that social scientists, unlike natural scientists, must take into account the meanings that actors attribute to their interactions when considering causality. Weber, furthermore, sought a middle ground between nomothetic (general laws) and idiographic (idiosyncratic
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This note was uploaded on 05/20/2010 for the course SOCIOLOGY Classical taught by Professor N/a during the Spring '10 term at Open Uni..

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ST04 CST07.Sum.Weber - Classical Sociological Theory, 4e...

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