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Sociology Classical Theories VL5

Marx was a last child of enlightment (belived in perfection, naively optimistic)

Weber, age of Nietzsche (God is dead), Dostojewsky put it into novel,
Turn back to things outside of enlightment, modernity
(back to irrational, insticts, emotion)
Greek god of enlightment (Apollo), the demon of post-enlightment face was Dyonisos
(drunkedness, exaltation, die sau raus lassen)
Nietzsche: God is dead, is then anything allowed? Killing etc.?
carl Schorske (fond de sicle Vienna, highly recommended read)
new doctrines in Webers time were all subjective (e.g. Freud)
as well in philosophy (not the time to talk about reason) but to reflect about what is
biological life (Henri Bergson, Lebensphilosophie, Phnomenologie)
Weber adopted does themes and rejected some of them.
What constitutes subjectivity?
What Weber took form Nietzsche is disdain of positivism (he did not go all the way
through to align with the irrationalists or nihilist, still was a rationalist)
so what he wanted to do was to reformulate Liberalism (brought him both against
Marxism and positioned him as well against the irrationalists)
He is the true sociologist of modernity: captures ambivalence of modernity, where the
good and the bad is inextricably intertwined (not bad capitalism and good
1) lign out basic points of Weberian sociology
2) point out master theme of Webers sociology (Rationalisierung)
3) Webers idea of what science is and what is methodology and what is the proper
approach for social sciences?
Weber also historically oriented but with a big difference to Marx Marx saw laws
that drive historical development, for Weber there are no laws, it is contingent
Marx was a economic reductionist (it is the economy, stupid, the rest is berbau)
Weber thinks in multifactorial way, there is no last instance explanation in
economoy, no primary causality. Weber does not deny the importance of
socioeconomic influence, even calls capitalism the most fateful force in our modern
life. But there are in term shaped by other factors.
Marx claimed: sein bestimmt das bewusstsein.
Weber would respond: ideas do also shape our being. Can be other way round.

Marx looks at society form the vantage point of totality, macrosociology. Also Weber
studies entire societies/civilizations but he adds some specific dimension that was not
in Marx: International comparisons (Marx: you understand English capitalism, then
you understand the rest, the retarded forms)
Why did only the occident produce modernity, not Judaism or Islamic region?
(comparative sociology)
Marxism is about critique and practice, Weber: Science and politics do not mingle
science is NEUTRAL. Meant to be critical, tells us stuff we did not know before and
it that way enlightens us and helps us to overcome wrong conceptions and beliefs but
it is not to tell us what to do. Science can never know true reality of the march of
(2) Main theme: to understand occidental rationalization. Marx said: its a capitalist
class society. Weber: it is an increasingly rationalized society. Marx and Weber agree
on main socioeconomic (Erwerbswirtschaft anstatt Substsitenzwirtschaft) conditions
that shape modern society (double free labor)
For Marx class antagonism, exploitation, and inequality
For Weber the essence of capitalism is rational calculation, wage labor -> rational
organization of labor, e.g. double bookkeeping)
Capitalism is only the economic outcome of rationalization, whereas the political one
is modern bureaucracy. You also see rationalization in modern culture, science and
technology replace religion and magic.
Stahlhartes Gehuse der Hrigkeit
Rationalisation leads to Entzauberung der Welt disenchantment of the world, spirit
of rationalization is that you can calculate everything and we have to accept it. Good
about rationalization is increase of how long you live or how well you deal with
Loss of meaning and loss of liberty are the bad effects (fighting values and fighting
gods replace the system of religion in which one felt safe; loss of liberty in
bureaucratized state). However, communism makes this worse and is no replacement.
Modernity is ambivalent no alternative but he sees both the shadows (stuart
hughes 1958 consciousness and society good book).
Unifying theme: why does it only prevail in the west, even though the implications
are universal and global
summarize it in three propositions (all science is construction and therefore partial,
limited, fallible// the constructions of the sciences of nature (exakte wissenschaften)
are fundamentally different than those of the social sciences// the typical conceptual
tool is the ideal type
a) science to be overcome by better theories Marx claimed to have given us an
objective interpretation of capitalism, I tell the truth and that will be it, faithful
reflection of reality (concept and reality are identical), all what came before for Marx

was bourgeois ideology From this essentialist claim follows dogmatism and
unwillingness to accept other viewpoints and this is why Marxism could become a
political state ideology, in parareligious state. If reality and theory dont mix, then you
adjust reality with prisons and so forth.
Plakat in berlin: die lehre von marx und engels ist allmchtig, weil sie wahr ist
For Weber on the other hand there is no such thing. Knowledge and science is
constructed and has to be replaced. Science is a fundamentally meaningless
In philosophic terms Max followed the Hegelian line, Weber the Kantian line
(important gap between reality and concept), world as such is an infinite chaos of
occurrences. Science, to use a metaphor, is not the godlike revelation of truth, it is
more to be understood as a bush knife with which you fight your way through the
b) science of nature seek generalizations. In the realm of social things, the more
general your laws are, the more meaningless they are and less content they have.
Social sciences the purpose is to INDIVIDUALISE capture the unique contours of
cultural phenomena.
What constitutes culture? Relatedness to values. Point is that if Weber argues that
Kulturwerte as points of study change over time, but value reference does not amount
to saying that we as scientists are allowed to produce value judgments.
We live in a world of equality then we study injustice, inequality (not abstracted
from values but derived)
Proper modern science methodology is Ideal type. historical individuality of reality
grasped by ideal type.
One very simple definition from prof: an ideal type is eine einseitige steigerung der
wirklichkeit, a one sided exaggeration of reality.
(example: bureaucracy is ideal type, not elected but appointed, not bases of beauty but
skills and diplomas; the bureaucrat acts only within precisely defined scope of work
defined in constitution reality is always an approximation though)
to look at the essence of historical phenomena and then you compare reality with ideal
type you get difference and paralles (then you have to explain why it is different
here from there and why the ideal type is not fully implemented, it is the beginning of
science not the end point).
Ideal type = historical individual (but not a model)
Geldwirtschaft, Stadtwirtschaft (historical things that did not exist from the creation
of the world)

Objective scientific knowledge to be gained by construction of ideal types

hypothesis Switzerland is a bureaucratic society we test ideal type of bureaucracy
and compare it with how it is in Switzerland
Are certain ideal types specific for certain times, societies.
Your own interest can give you an input for what you want to study but should not
change your findings
A very thin line that divides glaube and wissenschaft.
Entrepreneur has social liberties good to have it, dislike for socialism and even
more bureaucracy, only more discipline!
Capitalism creates liberty, even though not very much for the proletariat kind of
elitist view.
Free labour = formally free to sign the contract or not
Double-free in Marx terms: as well free of means of production (does not own them),
sells himself on labor market
Negative kind of freedom! Marx fleshed out the dark side of the moon here. It was
scandalous for Marx, because it was the source of alienation (romantic idea of the
craftsman who shapes his life through work).
On the other hand Webers view: in modern university you dont own your office, you
dont own the uniform or the tank in the army. Division of activity and the means.
thats good if he owned it he would try to bequeath it to his offspring, daddy
was clever, but no justification to pass it on to stupid son.
So Weber gives the freedom of theme a different point of view.
More keen on spelling out also the advantages (means of work and laborer are not
only divided in the factories)
It Weber a kind of western imperialist? Hes a child of this culture after all. Western
culture as ideal?