Neo-Kantianism : “was a broad cultural movement focused on an intellectual critique of the currents of positivism, naturalism & materialism which followed the aftermath of the decline of German idealism”.
Autonomy of the Individual
Became critical of social domination (Gov)
Weber: strongly identified with neo-kantian movement because of his Germany
Proposed a unified Germany where all people worked toward the German national mission.
He demonstrated the advantages of the rational, methodical ethic of work (rational capitalism)
recognized advantage sociologists had over natural scientists, due to the fact that they cannot gain insight to the behavioral patterns of the phenomena they study (example: cannot empathize with the function of an electron or chemical compound)
method derives from studying the context of the phenomenon but also empathizing with the individuals involved
critiqued as being little more than intuition - an overly soft and subjective method
Weber insisted that it's a rational procedure involving systematic research
Practical rationality - characterized by acceptance of given realities or constraints in society, and simply calculating the best way to deal with them (opposed to threatening to alter the daily routine)
Theoretical rationality - attempt to master reality, characterized by transcending daily realities in pursuit of enlightenment such as the "meaning of life"
Substantive rationality - courses of action are determined by a value system in which behaviors are limited
Formal rationality - courses of action are determined by "universally applied rules, laws, and regulation"
Weber saw formal rationality as leading to the "Iron Cage"- rational and established rules prevent individuals from deviating
“ Max Weber has had a more powerful positive impact on a wide range of sociological theories than any other sociological theorist…Weber’s work represents a remarkable fusion of historical research and sociological theorizing” (Ritzer)
Created the German Association for Sociology (1909)
Starting Point for Careers:
Karl Mannheim, Han Speier, Hans Gerth, Talcott Parsons, Robert Merton and C. Wright Mills.
His work had theoretical and methodological concepts that when combined with his scholarship brought historical data into “ a new and sharper focus”
Many significant trends of work were started by Weber:
Stratification theory, study of bureaucracy and large scale organization, the study of legitimate authority, the role of power, the sociology of law, the sociology of politics, the sociology of religion and the sociology of music.
Realist-> Social action, though an abstract concept, has real consequences
Idealism vs. Materialsm
Both… sought material consequences during a period of German Idealism BUT Weber’s concept of Protestantism shaping capitalism started with the abstract ideas of Protestantism, and ended with the material consequences of capitalism