SociologyExchange.co.uk Shared Resource

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SociologyExchange.co.uk Shared Resource

  1. 1. Religion & Social Change 1 Max Weber – The Protestant Ethic & the Spirit of Capitalism (1905)
  2. 2. <ul><li>Max Weber </li></ul><ul><li>(1864-1920) </li></ul>
  3. 3. Overview <ul><li>Weber is a Social Action theorist </li></ul><ul><li>Studies interaction and how humans make sense of the world </li></ul><ul><li>Focus on the social construction of reality </li></ul><ul><li>Verstehen </li></ul><ul><li>The importance of IDEAS in driving society </li></ul>
  4. 4. Weber at war with Marx’s ghost <ul><li>Marx - ECONOMY = CHANGE IN RELIGION </li></ul><ul><li>Weber </li></ul><ul><li>RELIGION = CHANGE IN ECONOMY </li></ul><ul><li>Weber challenges the materialism and economic </li></ul><ul><li>determinism of Marxist theory. </li></ul><ul><li>Weber notes how society is shaped by human ideas </li></ul><ul><li>rather than action directed by ideology that is </li></ul><ul><li>manipulated by an economic elite. </li></ul>
  5. 5. Weber and Industrialisation <ul><li>Weber studied how societies ‘took off’ </li></ul><ul><li>Interested in the variables that led to economic growth and the rise of industrial society </li></ul><ul><li>Conducted a comparative analysis of many societies and identified the main factor that caused the birth of the industrial age </li></ul>
  6. 6. That key factor was…. <ul><li>The Protestant faith </li></ul>
  7. 7. More precisely <ul><li>ASCETIC CALVINIST </li></ul><ul><li>PROTESTANTISM </li></ul><ul><li>THE RISE OF </li></ul><ul><li>WESTERN CAPITALISM </li></ul>
  8. 8. John Calvin
  9. 9. The importance of Calvinism <ul><li>‘ the elect’ – chosen to go to heaven – set by God before birth </li></ul><ul><li>Led to a psychological problem – ‘how did a Calvinist know that they had been chosen’ ? </li></ul><ul><li>Solution </li></ul><ul><li>‘ only CHOSEN PEOPLE would live a good life on Earth – so model behaviour was the goal’ </li></ul>
  10. 10. The model behaviour was known as…. <ul><li>THE PROTESTANT ETHIC </li></ul>and this led to the rise of capitalism
  11. 11. The Protestant Ethic <ul><li>This was an Ascetic </li></ul><ul><li>Abstaining from life’s pleasures </li></ul><ul><li>Living an austere lifestyle </li></ul><ul><li>Having strict self-discipline </li></ul>
  12. 12. <ul><li>‘ Calling’ </li></ul><ul><li>Humans have a calling </li></ul><ul><li>This is their career – their way to please God </li></ul><ul><li>Hard work in one’s career was a sign of obedience and respect to God </li></ul>
  13. 13. <ul><li>‘ making money’ </li></ul><ul><li>This was a sign of success and that you were pleasing God </li></ul><ul><li>‘ being frugal’ </li></ul><ul><li>People could not waste their wealth on luxuries </li></ul><ul><li>Money should be reinvested into businesses </li></ul>
  14. 14. Protestant disapproved of… <ul><li>Time wasting </li></ul><ul><li>Laziness </li></ul><ul><li>Idle gossip </li></ul><ul><li>People sleeping more than needed </li></ul><ul><li>Sexual intercourse (only for procreation) </li></ul><ul><li>Hedonism (frivolous pub/dance-hall/ </li></ul><ul><li>gambling) </li></ul><ul><li>Sport for entertainment (only for health) </li></ul>
  15. 15. The Spirit of Capitalism <ul><li>People always sought money (pirates and prostitutes) </li></ul><ul><li>This was at odds with capitalism </li></ul><ul><li>Speculation = gambling = frivolous = personal consumption </li></ul><ul><li>You became comfortable = no urge to stretch yourself </li></ul>
  16. 16. Ascetic Protestantism attitude to wealth <ul><li>This attitude led to the creation of more profit and wealth </li></ul><ul><li>Helped the rise of capitalism = INVESTMENT </li></ul><ul><li>Capitalism is based upon: </li></ul><ul><li>rational organisation and action – a degree of self control and planning </li></ul>
  17. 17. The effect of the Protestant Ethic <ul><li>These ethics led to – duties/obligations = a methodological, single-minded pursuit of a calling </li></ul><ul><li>Hard work </li></ul><ul><li>The rise of rational capitalism </li></ul>
  18. 18. Question to consider <ul><li>“ According to Max Weber, how did the Protestant religion lead to the rise of capitalist economy” </li></ul>
  19. 19. The death of religion <ul><li>Protestantism would sow the seeds of its own downfall </li></ul><ul><li>Rationale attitude to life ----- ‘this world focused’----control ----efficiency ----instrumental ----THIS WOULD LEAD TO ACCUMULATING WEALTH FOR WEALTH’S SAKE! </li></ul><ul><li>This would result to ‘WORSHIP OF MAMMON’… .vanity..self-obsession..greed </li></ul>
  20. 20. Critique <ul><li>Calvinism – was against the pursuit of wealth (Stombart) </li></ul><ul><li>Many Calvinist nations were slow to develop </li></ul><ul><li>Calvinism emerged where industry had already developed (Kautsky) </li></ul><ul><li>Exclusion = not Calvin faith but their exclusion from mainstream society that was the key </li></ul>

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