We are currently undergoing maintainence, please come back soon. 6: Durkheim and Weber’s Contrasting Imaginations Who is the Sociologist? Both are usually max weber essay for their adherence to facts, and I have no quarrel with this, but I think that science is just as dependent on imagination.
In The Division of Labour Durkheim tried to show that societies are real in the sense of having similar properties to material objects. A thing is something that is real. Try walking into a lamppost as if it was not there, and you will discover what a thing is. In his Rules of Sociological Method Durkheim tried to show that sociology is the study of society and that society has real substance.
He said that we should treat social facts as things. An example of social facts are the suicidogenetic currents that Durkheim said run through the body of society. If society has nothing to do with why people commit or attempt suicide, if it is purely a psychological issue, you might expect the number of suicides and suicide attempts to vary greatly from year to year according to how many people just happened to have chosen to attempt suicide. Before looking at the detail of what Durkheim says in Elementary Forms of Religious Life, let us view it from a great height. At some periods of the year you see them scattered in small groups or alone over a vast area of bushland. At the front of Hobbes’ Leviathan the two types of weapon that the state uses are symbolised in a series of matching pictures.
This would include actions motivated by self-interest. For example actions with an economic motive: market place actions like those Adam Smith described. The great bulk of all everyday action to which people have become habitually accustomed” can be considered traditional, although much of it borders on behaviour rather than meaningful action, because we do not think about what we are doing. Some of it, however, is consciously explained in terms of tradition.
For Weber, revealed law would be an example of charismatic authority, which I discuss below. Die protestantische Ethik und der ‘Geist’ des Kapitalismus original cover. Max Weber, a German sociologist, economist, and politician. In 1998, the International Sociological Association listed this work as the fourth most important sociological book of the 20th century. It is the 8th most cited book in the social sciences published before 1950. Religious devotion, Weber argues, is usually accompanied by a rejection of worldly affairs, including the pursuit of wealth and possessions.
Remember, that money is the prolific, generating nature. Money can beget money, and its offspring can beget more, and so on. Weber notes that this is not a philosophy of mere greed, but a statement laden with moral language. Indeed, Franklin claims that God revealed the usefulness of virtue to him.
A common illustration is that of a cobbler, hunched over his work, who devotes his entire effort to the praise of God. To emphasize the work ethic in Protestantism relative to Catholics, he notes a common problem that industrialists face when employing precapitalist laborers: Agricultural entrepreneurs will try to encourage time spent harvesting by offering a higher wage, with the expectation that laborers will see time spent working as more valuable and so engage it longer. It is particularly advantageous in technical occupations for workers to be extremely devoted to their craft. To view the craft as an end in itself, or as a “calling” would serve this need well. This attitude is well-noted in certain classes which have endured religious education, especially of a Pietist background. He defines spirit of capitalism as the ideas and esprit that favour the rational pursuit of economic gain: “We shall nevertheless provisionally use the expression ‘spirit of capitalism’ for that attitude which, in the pursuit of a calling , strives systematically for profit for its own sake in the manner exemplified by Benjamin Franklin. He further noted that the spirit of capitalism could be divorced from religion, and that those passionate capitalists of his era were either passionate against the Church or at least indifferent to it.
Desire for profit with minimum effort and seeing work as a burden to be avoided, and doing no more than what was enough for modest life, were common attitudes. After defining the “spirit of capitalism,” Weber argues that there are many reasons to find its origins in the religious ideas of the Reformation. Weber shows that certain branches of Protestantism had supported worldly activities dedicated to economic gain, seeing them as endowed with moral and spiritual significance. Weber traced the origins of the Protestant ethic to the Reformation, though he acknowledged some respect for secular everyday labor as early as the Middle Ages.
The Roman Catholic Church assured salvation to individuals who accepted the church’s sacraments and submitted to the clerical authority. However, the Reformation had effectively removed such assurances. In the absence of such assurances from religious authority, Weber argued that Protestants began to look for other “signs” that they were saved. Calvin and his followers taught a doctrine of double predestination, in which from the beginning God chose some people for salvation and others for damnation. The inability to influence one’s own salvation presented a very difficult problem for Calvin’s followers. Worldly success became one measure of that self-confidence.