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Weber and Anthropology

Author(s): Charles F. Keyes


Source: Annual Review of Anthropology, Vol. 31 (2002), pp. 233-255
Published by: Annual Reviews
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Annu. Rev. Anthropol.2002. 31:233-55


doi: 10.1146/annurev.anthro.31.040402.085332
Copyright@ 2002 by AnnualReviews. All rights reserved
Firstpublishedonline as a Review in Advance on May 21, 2002

WEBERAND ANTHROPOLOGY
CharlesE Keyes

Seattle,
of Anthropology,
University
of Washington,
Department
98105;email:keyes@u.washington.edu
Washington
Key Words interpretiveanthropology,developmentalhistory,religion,
charisma
rationalization,

U Abstract Thisarticleis abouttheinfluenceof theworkof theGermansociologist


Max Weber(1864-1920) on English-speaking
anthropologists.
AlthoughWeberdoes
his workhas, nonetheless,had
not figureprominentlyin the historyof anthropology,
a profoundinfluenceon anthropological
methodologyandtheoreticalthinkingon the
between
and
relationship
religion
politicaleconomy.The "interpretive
anthropology"
first developedby Geertzhas roots in Weber's"interpretive
sociology."Bourdieu's
study
"theoryof practice"is also stronglyWeberianin character.The anthropological
thedebateoverthefoundationsof thisfieldbetweenGeertz
of religion,andparticularly
andAsad, is reconsideredin light of Weber'ssociologyof religion.His comparative
studyof the ethicsof the world'sreligionsandparticularlythe "Weberthesis"about
the relationshipbetweenreligion and the developmentof bourgeoiscapitalismare
researchon
shown to have been the foundationfor a largebody of anthropological
religionand politicaleconomyin societies in which the majorworldreligionshave
beenlong established.Theessayendswith a suggestionthatWeber'sworkon politics
andmeaningmeritsreexaminationin light of contemporary
interest,
anthropological
derivedfromFoucault,in powerandknowledge.

INTRODUCTION
David Gellner (2001, p. 1), in his introductionto The Anthropologyof Buddhism
and Hinduism:WeberianThemes,writes, "Theconjunctionof 'Weberandanthropology' is sufficientlyunusualto warrantjustification."In this essay I seek both
to offer such a justificationand to show thatwhereastheremay not be "Weberian
anthropology,"much anthropologicalwork has been influenced directly or indirectly by the work of Max Weber.Moreover,thereare good reasons,I believe, for
rethinkingWeber'swork in light of contemporaryanthropologicalconcerns.
This articleis aboutthe influenceof the workof MaxWeberon English-speaking
anthropologists.No effort is made here to assess the broaderinfluence of Weber
on the social sciences, especially in sociology and political science, where Weber
has been and continuesto be readmore thanin anthropology.I also consideronly
the English translationsof Weber'swork.
0084-6570/02/1021-0233$14.00

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233

234

KEYES

WEBERAND HIS WORK


Max Weber (1864-1920) does not figure in the history of anthropologyin the
way Durkheim,Freud, or even Marx do because Webermade next to no use of
materialsin his work-indeed, few histories
ethnographic(or proto-ethnographic)
of anthropologymake any mention of Weber.'Weber was trainedin economic
history, and his very large corpus of work is centrallyconcernedwith historical
processes in the great civilizations of the world. His historical sociology has,
however,considerablerelevanceto an anthropologythathas become increasingly
historicallyoriented.
If fledgling anthropologistsread any of Weber'swork today,it is usually The
ProtestantEthic and the Spirit of Capitalism (Weber 1958a) (hereafterPESC).
Although the significanceof this study cannot be underestimated,it is only one
small part of the large corpus of work that Weberproduced.PESC is part of a
three-volumestudy on the comparativereligious ethics of the worldreligions, the
GesammelteAufsdtzezur Religionssoziologie (CollectedEssays in the Sociology
of Religion) (Weber 1922-1923), a work that sets out to answer the question of
what role religion in practice(ratherthanin theology) played in the emergenceof
capitalism.It begins with an inquiryinto the Protestantethic, which Weberfound
to have fostered an attitudetowardthe world-a spirit (geist)-that contributed
to the rise of bourgeoisrationalcapitalism.It then turnsto studies of Hinduism,
Buddhism,and Chinese religion to explore why these religious traditionsdid not
foster the same geist and to a studyof ancientJudaism,in which Weberfound the
roots of the Protestantethic. He had also intendedto study Islam, but he never
completed a sustainedexaminationof this religious tradition,althoughfragments
of it can be found in otherpartsof his work such as the section of Economyand
Society concerninglaw.2
The GesammelteAufsdtzezur Religionssoziologiehas been translatedby different scholars and publishedpiecemeal in English. Weber'sintroductionto the
whole appearsas the introductionto PESC.His essay "TheProtestantSects andthe
Spiritof Capitalism"has been publishedin translationseparately(Weber1958b,
pp. 302-22). Twoessays comparingthe worldreligions,"TheSocial Psychology of
WorldReligions" and "ReligiousRejections of the Worldand Their Directions,"
also have been published separately(Weber 1958b, pp. 267-301, 323-59), and
translationsof his studies of Chinese religion, Hinduism,Buddhism,and ancient
dismissesWeber'sap'Harris(1968,p. 285) in his monumental
historyof anthropology
Harris
sees theWeberian
historical
materialism."
with
as
approach being"incompatible
in
hishistoricalstudies
but
with
Boasian
as
associated
(1968)
Stocking
anthropology,
proach
makesnoreferenceto Weber.ThehistoriesbyKuper(1973,p. 160)
of theBoasiantradition
andEriksen&Nielsen(2001,pp.32-35)givemorepositive,butstillverybrief,assessments
of Weber'sinfluence.
to pullthesefragments
2B.S.Turner(1974)hasattempted
togetherandto reflecton whata
Weberian
studyof Islammighthavelookedlike.

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WEBERAND ANTHROPOLOGY 235


Judaismhave all appearedas separatebooks (Weber1951, 1958c, 1952); excerpts
from the firsttwo also appearin the collection, FromMax Weber.
Weber'ssecond monumentalwork, Wirtschaftund Gesellschaft(Economyand
Society) (hereafterW&G) (Weber 1925), has been translatedas a whole (Weber
1978), with many parts also publishedin separatevolumes. The opening of this
study, which lays out the basis for Weber's "interpretivesociology," has been
published separatelyas Basic Concepts in Sociology (Weber 1962). In addition
to this work, three other methodologicalessays not included in W&Ghave been
translatedin TheMethodologyof the Social Sciences (Weber1949).

WEBER'SPHILOSOPHYOF HISTORY
Weber,like Marx, operatedwith a philosophy of history; like Marx, Weberbelieved that history is progressive.However,Weberdiffers from Marx in what he
saw as leading to progress.WhereasMarx saw progressas a function of humans
acting in the world in relationto the forces of production,Webersaw progressas
derived from humans giving meaning to the world and their actions. Instead of
historicalmaterialism,Weber'sphilosophyof history is based on the assumption
thatprogresscomes throughthe process of disenchantmentthatoccurs because of
rationalizationor intellectualization.
Weber was not, however, an idealist; his philosophy of history cannot be reducedto the propositionthat"humansthinkthemselves"to progress.He was more
sophisticatedthanthe eighteenth-centuryrationalistsbecause he was awareof the
materialistargument.Rationalizationoccurs with referenceto the materialconditions (what he called "interestsituations")that humansconfront.Weberwas not
interestedin ideas per se but in ideas thatbecome practicallyrealized.Thatis, he
was interestedin those ways of giving meaning to action within the world that
afterhavingbeen advancedbecome incorporatedinto the understandings(culture)
by which people orienttheirlives. In otherwords, it is not sufficientfor an idea to
be thoughtup; it must become the basis for practicalaction.
There are manypassages in Weber'swork thathave led scholarsto see his philosophy of historyas entailinga nonmaterialistunilinearevolutionaryview of the
processof rationalization.GerthandMills in theirintroductionto FromMax Weber
observedthat"Weber'sview of 'disenchantment'embodies an element of liberalism andof the enlightenmentphilosophythatconstruedman'shistoryas a unilinear
'progress'towardsmoralperfection"(Weber1958b, p. 51). They went on to note
thatalthoughWeberexpresseda "skepticalaversion"to unilinearevolutionisttheories they still "feel justifiedin holding thata unilinearconstructionis clearly implied in Weber'sidea of the bureaucratic[rationalization]thrust"(p. 51). Thatthis
evolutionarythrustwas sufficientlymarkedin Weber'sworkis manifestin the fact
thatParsons(1966) and Bellah (1964) both constructeda nonmaterialistunilinear
evolutionarytheorybasedon theirinterpretationof selectedpartsof Weber'swork.
However,in manyotherwritingsWeberadopteda "developmental"view of history (Entwicklugsgeschichte)(see Roth 1987, Roth & Schluchter1979, Schluchter

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236

KEYES
1981) ratherthan an evolutionaryone. Weberrecognized, in his comparativesociology of religion for example, that whereas the impetus to rationalizationand
intellectualizationcan be assumedto be universalthe processes of rationalization
have followed differentpaths in differentsocieties. As Roth observed, "If there
was no deterministicscheme of evolutionarydevelopment[for Weber],the only
empirical alternativeseemed to be the constructionof 'type concepts' or sociohistoricalmodels and of seculartheoriesof long-rangehistoricaltransformation"
(Roth & Schluchter1979, p. 195). The rethinkingof modernitythat has become
particularlyevidentin the wake of the emergenceof postmodernismhas led some
to look again at Weber's work with more emphasis on his developmenthistory
ratherthanthe evolutionaryimplications(see the essays in Lash & Whimster1987
and Turner1992).

DISCOVERYOF WEBER
ANTHROPOLOGY'S
Weberbeganto be readby English-speakinganthropologistsin thepost-WorldWar
II periodwhen attentionwas shifted away from the study of primitivesocietiesthat is, the study of the social structuresand cultures of small-scale premodern
societies-and towardsocieties thathad been radicallyreshapedby the influences
of modernnation-statesand the global economy.The firstsignificantinfluenceof
Weberon anthropologywas in the United States, particularlyamong anthropologists trainedat Harvard,whereParsonshad a profoundrole in the trainingof those
anthropologistswho took theirdegrees in the Departmentof Social Relations.3
Parsonshad first made Weberavailablefor English-speakingstudentsin his
translation of and introductionto PESC, which first appeared in 1930, and
especially in TheStructureofSocialAction, firstpublishedin 1937 (Parsons1968).
In The Structureof Social Action Parsons developed a general theory of social
actionbased on his synthesisof the ideas of the economistMarshall(1842-1924),
the economic sociologist Pareto(1848-1923), Durkheim,andWeber.Parson'sfour
remainedweddedto a
3Evenin thepost-WWII
periodmostBritishsocialanthropologists
thathadits rootsin theworkof Durkheim
structural-functionalist
(Kuper1973,
orthodoxy
lecturein 1950
whoin his Marrett
exceptionwasEvans-Pritchard,
p. 160).An important
in Evans-Pritchard
of structural
functionalism
1962,
(reprinted
rejectedthe ahistoricism
effort
what
the
EvansIn
his
own
to
historicize
he
called
"sociologyofreligion,"
pp.139-57).
Pritchard
foundWeberto berelevant.InhisTheoriesofPrimitiveReligionEvans-Pritchard
(1965) showedhe had readPESCas well as otherpartsof the Weberiancomparative
in the collectionFromMaxWeberandReligionof
studyof worldreligionas translated
ChinaandReligionof India.Althoughhe notedthatWeberhadreadlittleaboutprimitive
thatanthropologists
emulateWeber's
societies(Evans-Pritchard
1965,p. 117),headvocated
havenotmademuchprogressin thesort
comparative
projectbecause"weanthropologists
of relationalstudieswhichI believeto be thoserequiredandthe only ones whichare
1965,p. 120).Few
likelyto leadus to a vigoroussociologyof religion"(Evans-Pritchard
andwhatWeberian
influenceis foundin British
followedEvans-Pritchard's
admonition,
exception
anthropology
appearsmainlyto havecomeviaAmericansources.An important
is Beidelman(1971).

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WEBERANDANTHROPOLOGY 237
chapterson Weber(Parsons 1968, pp. 500-94) are based on an extensive reading
of much of Weber'swork in German.
The Structureof Social Action was requiredreading for graduatestudentsin
the Departmentof Social Relations, which was founded by Parsons after World
WarII.4In the 1950s and 1960s a numberof anthropologistswho trainedat Harvard in this departmentcame under Parsons' influence.5Although Geertz has
characterizedParsonsas teaching"in his graveand toneless voice" (Geertz 1973,
p. 249), he clearly learnedmuch from Parsons.Geertz,togetherwith fellow graduate studentRobertBellah, would emerge as the preeminentinterpreterof Weber
for anthropologyin the 1960s.

FROM INTERPRETIVE SOCIOLOGY


TO INTERPRETIVE ANTHROPOLOGY
Thepublication
in 1973of TheInterpretation
of Culturesby CliffordGeertzinaua
new
that
became
knownas "interpretive
theoretical
gurated
anthropolapproach
this
had
its
roots
partiallyin the symbolicanthropology
ogy."Although approach
that had preceded it (Fischer 1997, p. 263; Fischer 1977), as Geertz made clear
in his opening essay, "ThickDescription,"in The Interpretationof Cultures,he
drewexplicitly on Weber'sinterpretivesociology (verstehendenSoziologie) in formulatinghis methodof "culturalanalysis.""Believing,with Max Weber,"Geertz
wrote, "thatman is an animal suspendedin webs of significance he himself has
spun, I take cultureto be those webs, and the analysis of it to be thereforenot an
experimentalscience in searchof law butan interpretiveone in searchof meaning"

(Geertz1973,p. 5).
In the methodological section of Economy and Society, Weber set forth the
basic premise on which his interpretivesociology is predicated:
Sociology (in the sense in which this highly ambiguouswordis used here) is a
science concerningitself with the interpretativeunderstandingof social action
andtherebywith a causalexplanationof its courseandconsequences.We shall
speakof 'action' insofaras the actingindividualattachesa subjectivemeaning
to his behavior-be it overt or covert, omission or acquiescence. Action is
'social' insofar as its subjective meaning takes account of the behavior of
others and is therebyorientedin its course. (Weber1978, p. 4)
by the lateA.T.Kirsch,long a professorof
41 was told aboutthis curricular
requirement
atCornell,whostudiedin theSocialRelationsDepartment
atHarvard
in the
anthropology
me to Weberandto TheStructure
1960s.Kirschfirstintroduced
of SocialActionwhenhe
joinedfora yeartheclassin ThailanguageatCornellin whichI wasenrolledas a graduate
student.I amveryindebtedto Kirschforguidingmy firststudyof Weber.
at Harvardduringthe 1950sandearly 1960s
5Byno meansall trainedin anthropology
fell underParsons'influence.In the 1950sand1960stwo differentdepartments
existedat
of Anthropolin whichone couldpursuea PhDin anthropology:
theDepartment
Harvard
suchas
of SocialRelations.OnlysomeHarvard
anthropologists,
ogy andtheDepartment
Kluckhohn
andDuBois,weresympathetic
to Parsons'sapproach.

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238

KEYES
Interpretationfor Weber was not, as Eldridge (1980, p. 31) observed, "to be
confused with psychological reductionism."Rather, interpretationbegins with
observationsof the actions of the individual.
For Weber,the individualis "the sole carrierof meaningfulconduct"(Weber
1958b, p. 55). Althoughhe acknowledgedthatthe "organic"approachto the study
of society-the approachthat based on the work of Durkheimwould become
dominantfor severalgenerationsin anthropology-"is convenientfor purposesof
practicalillustrationand for provisionalorientation."In the end "if its cognitive
value is overestimatedand its concepts illegitimately 'reified', it can be highly
dangerous"(Weber1978, p. 14-15). Weberwas not, however,advocatingthatthe
social is only the sumof individualactions;he was no morea behaviorist,as we now
use the term, than he was a psychological reductionist.While Weber'sapproach
presumesthatindividualsact on impulsesor motivations,suchimpulsesor motivations are,he argued,manifestin action only throughmeaningsthey have acquired
from others.In otherwords, the meaningof actions must be understoodby "placing the act in an intelligible andmore inclusive contextof meaning"(Weber1978,
p. 8).
Our certaintyabout our interpretationof action is best, he maintained,when
thereis a clearlinkperceivablebetweenthe ends soughtby the actorandthe means
thatthe actorhas employed"onthe basis of the facts of the situation,as experience
has accustomedus to interpretthem" (Weber 1978, p. 5). This mode of "logical
and mathematical"(Weber 1978, p. 5) interpretationcan be seen, I suggest, as
foreshadowingrationalchoice theory.
Weberalso noted thatthereare othertypes of actionsthathave an emotionalor
aestheticqualitythatdo not lend themselvesto the rationalchoice type of interpretation."Empatheticor appreciativeaccuracy[of interpretationof this second kind
of action] is attainedwhen, throughsympatheticparticipation,we can adequately
grasp the emotional context in which the action took place" (Weber 1978, p. 5).
Thereis an inherentrationalefor fieldwork,I believe, in the idea of "sympathetic
participation."
Although recognizing this second type of action, Weberadvocatedbeginning
with an assumptionthat any action is rationallybased (Weber 1978, p. 6). Only
by seeing that an action deviates from "a conceptuallypure type of rationalaction" (Weber 1978, p. 6) can affectual factors be broughtin to account for the
deviation.As Parsons(1968, p. 588) observedin his explicationof Weber'stheory, only by checking one's interpretationwith "referenceto a rationally consistent system of concepts"can the interpretivesociologist forestall "an endless
succession of 'intuitional judgments' which depart farther and farther from
reality."
Geertzfollowed Weberin makingthe individualactorcentralto his methodology: "Nothingis morenecessaryto comprehendingwhatanthropologicalinterpretation is, and the degree to which it is interpretation,than an exact understanding
of what it means-and what it does not mean-to say that our formulationsof
other peoples' symbols system must be actor-oriented"(Geertz 1973, p. 14).

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WEBERANDANTHROPOLOGY 239
He differs from Weber in shifting focus from action to symbols. By stressing
the symbolic aspect of action, Geertz went on to develop his interpretiveapproach with reference to Ricoeur's (1971; also see Ricoeur 1976, 1981) "model
of the text." "Doing ethnographyis like trying to read (in the sense of 'construct
a reading of') a manuscript"(Geertz 1973, p. 10). Whereas the model of the
text has proven to be useful, it is not adequatefor interpretingmany types of
actions.6

BOURDIEU'STHEORYOF PRACTICE
AND INTERPRETIVE
SOCIOLOGY
Bourdieu's "theory of practice"brought ethnographycloser to the interpretive
sociology of Weber(Bourdieu1977; also see Bourdieu1990). Bourdieutracedhis
own intellectualgenealogy as a movement
from the anti-individualistphilosophy of the Durkheimiansto a philosophy
of the subject practicedby phenomenologists and existentialists (Sartre,in
particular)and later, in the 1960s, to a "philosophy without subject," as
Ricoeur, defender of Christianpersonalism, characterized"structuralism"
[thatis, L6vi-Strauss],... [and]once againtowardsa philosophyof the subject
in the 1980s, with variousstrandsof rationalchoice theoryand"methodological individualism."(Bourdieu1993, pp. 268-69)
Although Bourdieu did not include Weber in his intellectual genealogy, his
referencesto Weberboth in his Outline of a Theoryof Practice and particularly
in his assessmentof Weber'ssociology of religion (Bourdieu 1987) demonstrate
thathe was both directlyand indirectlyinfluencedby Weber.7
To demonstratethe convergenceof Bourdieu'stheoryof practicewith Weber's
interpretivesociology would requirea much more extendeddiscussion than space
permits. I would, however, like to discuss how Bourdieu's central concept of
habituscan be said to exemplify what Webertermed"idealtype"constructsused
for interpretingaction.
Weberdevelopedhis notionof ideal types "tobringorderinto the chaos of those
facts which we have drawninto the field circumscribedby our interest"(Weber
1949, p. 105, emphasisin original),thatis, to providethe appropriatelanguagefor
interpretingthe actionsthe observerhas observed.An ideal type "isno 'hypothesis'
but it offers guidance to the constructionof hypotheses. It is not a descriptionof
realitybut it aims to give unambiguousmeans of expressionto such a description"
thevalidityof someof thecriticismof my
6Inmakingthisclaim,I amalsoacknowledging
ownuseof themodelof thetext(seeKeyes1984,1986,1991andespeciallyKirsch1985).
7InOutlineof a Theoryof Practice,Bourdieu(1977,pp. 76, 215: notep. 19) referredto
Weber'sdiscussionin EconomyandSociety(1978,pp. 319-33) of "custom,convention,
andlaw"andused"interest"
in a Weberian
manner.

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240

KEYES
(Weber1949, p. 90, emphasisin original).Ideal types do not describereality,nor
do they representanything in reality in a precise one-to-one fashion. They are
also not a statisticalaverageor "a formulationof the concrete traits commonto
a class of concrete things, for instance in the sense that having beards is a trait
common to men as distinct from women" (Parsons 1968, p. 604, emphasis in
original).
An ideal type is formedby the one-sidedaccentuationof one or more points
of view and by the synthesis of a great many diffuse, discrete, more or less
present and occasionally absent concrete individualphenomena,which are
arrangedaccordingto those one-sidedly emphasizedviewpoints into a unified analytical construct(Gedankenbild).In its conceptualpurity,this mental
construct(Gedankenbild)cannot be found empirically anywherein reality.
It is a utopia. Historical researchfaces the task of determiningin each individual case, the extent to which this ideal-constructapproximatesto or
diverges from reality... When carefully applied, those concepts are particularly useful in research and exposition. (Weber 1949, p. 90, emphasis in
original)
An ideal type may, thus,be a model or a generalizingconcept or an abstraction
from particularhistorical circumstances.8Whateverits logical character,it is a
constructdevelopedto make sense out of a chaos of facts or a set of observations
of actions.
Bourdieuproposedthe conceptof habituspreciselyfor thispurpose.The appeal
of the concept lies in its utility to interpretwhy people act in certainobservable
ways. Although these ways seem naturalto the person engaged in them, there
lies behind them, Bourdieu argued, "dispositions"that are not only explicitly
sanctionedin text-like culturalforms such as "wisdom, sayings, commonplaces,
ethical precepts"(Bourdieu 1977, p. 77) but are embedded in the structuresof
space and in social practiceswhose meaningis implicit.
The habitusis the universalizingmediationwhich causes an individualagent's
practices,withouteitherexplicit reasonor signifying intent,to be nonetheless
'sensible' and 'reasonable'.That partof practiceswhich remainsobscure in
the eyes of their own producersis the aspect by which they are objectively
adjustedto otherpracticesand to the structuresof which the principleof their
productionis itself the product.(Bourdieu1977, p. 79)
The observerwho findsBourdieu'sconceptof habitusto be useful in rendering
as sensible andreasonablethe practices(actions)of those for whom theirmeaning
in Social
discussionof idealtypesis in theessay,"Objectivity
8Weber's
ownmost-extended
Scienceand SocialPolicy"in TheMethodologyof the Social Sciences(Weber1949).
However,therearealso manyotherpassagesin his otherworksthatdiscussidealtypes.
See Parsons(1968)andBendix(1960)for guidesto Weber'snotoverlyconsistentuse of
theconcept.

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WEBERAND ANTHROPOLOGY 241


is obscure has engaged precisely in that methodologicalmove that Webermade
centralto his interpretivesociology.9
Although the label "interpretiveanthropology"ceased to have much currency
the
1990s, I suggest thatethnographystill remainsfundamentallyinterpretive
by
in the sense thatWeberfirstformulatedthe interpretivemethod for his sociology.

WEBER'SSOCIOLOGYOF RELIGIONAND
STUDYOF RELIGION
THE ANTHROPOLOGICAL
Weber'sinterpretivemethodis predicatedon an assumptionthatis also fundamental to his theoreticalapproach.In a passage on "Religious Groups"in Economy
and Society Weberposited that"thehumanmind... is drivento reflecton ethical
and religious questions, drivennot by materialneed but by an inner compulsion
to understandthe world as a meaningfulcosmos and to take up a position toward
it" (Weber1963, pp. 116-117, emphasisadded).
Whereas much of the meaning that makes possible acting in the world derives from what Webertermed"tradition"(perhapsbetterformulatedin terms of
Bourdieu'shabitus), there are experiences that renderproblematicconventional
meaning.Parsons,reflectingon such "problemsof meaning,"observedthat
Weberpostulatesa basic 'drive' towardsmeaningand the resolutionof these
discrepancies on the level of meaning, a drive or tendency which is often
held in check by various defensive mechanisms, of which the pre-eminent
one here relevantis that of magic. But whateverthe situationregardingthe
effectiveness of this drive, there is a crucial point concerning the direction
in which this tendency propels the developmentof culture. This is that the
searchfor groundsof meaningwhich can resolve the discrepanciesmust lead
to continuallymore 'ultimate'referencepointswhich areprogressivelyfurther
removedfrom the levels of common sense experience on which the discrepancies originally arise. The 'explanations,'i.e., solutions to the problemsof
meaning, must be groundedin increasingly generalized and 'fundamental'
philosophicalconceptions. (Parsonsin Weber 1963, pp. xlvii-xlviii).
"Ultimate"meaningcanneverbe attainedthroughreflectionandrationalization;
rather,it can come only, Weberargued,throughthe nonrationalacceptanceof the
dogmaticpropositionsembeddedin the salvationethic of a religion.Salvation-the
of Bourdieu's
habitusas an
9Ithasbeensuggestedto me thatI overstatemy interpretation
terms.Thispersonnotesthatfor Bourdieu"rulesandvaluesexist
idealtypein Weberian
only in practice.This seemsto contrastmarkedlywiththe idea of a 'unifiedanalytical
construct[that]cannotbe foundempirically
anywherein reality."'I stillmaintainthatthe
of
of anidealtypeconstruct
is
valid
and
to
the
first
part Weber'sdefinition
comparison
points
absent
asa "synthesis
of a greatmanydiffuse,discrete,moreorlesspresentandoccasionally
forWeber,asforBourdieu,
aremanifest
Thesephenomena
concreteindividual
phenomena."
in whatWebercalled"socialaction"andBourdieu"practice."

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242

KEYES
absolutecertaintythatthe cosmos is ultimatelymeaningful-is morepsychological
than cognitive. "The quest of certitudosalutis itself has .., .been the origin of all
psychological drivesof a purelyreligious character"(Weber1958a, p. 228).
Geertz's(1966; 1973, pp. 87-125) "Religionas a CulturalSystem"startswith
and elaborates on this Weberianposition. Asad (1983; 1993, pp. 27-54) has
strongly criticized Geertz's approach,and although this was not his intent, his
criticismpoints to some importantdifferencesbetween GeertzandWeber.10First,
Asad (1993, pp. 30) points to Geertz's (1973, pp. 92) definitionof religion as a
"system of symbols" as entailing a confusion between symbols as an "aspectof
social reality"(what I would term, following Weber,an aspect of social action)
and symbols as representationsof social reality.Weber,like Asad, saw meaning
as embeddedin social action, in Asad's (1993, pp. 32) words, being "intrinsically
and not temporallyconnected."
Asad (1993, pp. 28) furthercriticized Geertz for adopting a modem postEnlightenmentWesternview of religionas havingan autonomousessence separate
from politics. Althoughthis criticismmight not be sustainableif one were to take
into accountGeertz'sethnographicwork on Islam in Indonesiaand Morocco, the
pointI wantto makehereis thatWebercertainlywouldnot makesuch a distinction.
In "ReligiousRejectionsof theWorldandTheirDirections,"forexample,he wrote,
The widely varying empirical stands which historical religions have taken
in the face of political action have been determinedby the entanglementof
religious organizationsin power interestsand the strugglesfor power,by the
almostunavoidablecollapseof even thehigheststatesof tensionwiththe world
in favorof compromisesandrelativities,by the usefulness andthe use of religious organizationsfor the political tamingof the masses and, especially, by
the need of the powers-that-befor the religious consecrationof their legitimacy. (Weber1958b, pp. 337-38)
Webermaintainedthat from time to time in all societies in which religions with
rationalizedsalvationethics have evolved tensions develop between religious and
political institutions:
Every religiously groundedunworldlylove and indeed every ethical religion
must, in similarmeasureandfor similarreasons,experiencetensionswith the
sphere of political behavior.This tension appearsas soon as a religion has
progressedto anythinglike a status of equality with the sphere of political
associations.(Weber1963, p. 223)
Asad showssome familiaritywith Weber,he does not drawon him to any
'OAlthough
significantextent.Whatis striking,however,is thatAsadseeksto pushanthropological
to Genealogiesof Religionhe
workin the samedirectionas Weber.In his introduction
the
"I
am
with
how
wrote,
systemacity
(including kindthatis essentialto whatis
concerned
is apprehended,
andusedin thecontemporary
world"(Asad
calledcapitalism)
represented,
andmodernizing
nation-states
arethetwo
1993,pp.7) and"Modern
capitalistenterprises
mostimportant
powersthatorganizespacestoday..." (Asad1993,p. 8).

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WEBERANDANTHROPOLOGY 243
I disagree with Asad's criticism of Geertz's predication of religion on the
experience people encounter with fundamentalproblems of meaning. Geertz,
who in this respect is very much following Weber, formulates these problems
as ones in which "chaos-a tumult of events which lack not just interpretations
by interpretability-threatens to break upon man: at the limits of his analytical capacities, at the limits of his power of endurance,and at the limits of his
moral insight. Bafflement, suffering, and a sense of intractableethical paradox
are all, if they become intense enough or are sustainedlong enough, radicalchallenges to the proposition that life is comprehensibleand that we can, by taking thought,orient ourselves within it-challenges which any religion ... which
hopes to persist must attemptsomehow to cope" (Geertz 1973, p. 100, emphasis in original). Geertz (1973, pp. 109-10) went on to arguethat the experiences
of fundamentalproblems of meaning "drives"people toward"belief" in particular formulationsof ultimate meaning that constitute what he calls a "religious
perspective."Asad ignored,in his critiqueof Geertz'sdiscussion of the religious
perspective,the centralpointthat"religiousbelief involves ... a prioracceptanceof
authoritywhich transforms"the experiencesof problemsof meaning(Geertz1973,
p. 109). Asad's failure to recognize or unwillingness to accept that problems of
meaning, albeit always in particularmanifestations,are universalled him to the
untenable conclusion that religion, except in "the most vacuous sense," is not
"basic to the structureof modem lives" (Asad 1993, p. 49).11One wondershow
he would approacha study, to take only two presumablyvery modem societies,
of the significance in America of the religious right in politics, the moral debate
over abortion,or the proliferationof New Age religions or in Japanof the debate over the visit of a prime ministerto a Shinto shrine,the attackon the Tokyo
subway of a movement identifiedas a cult, or the moral debates over the use of
organs of deceased persons, and so on. There is now a growing literaturethat
demonstrateswell the persistence,resurgence,and transformationof religions in
modem societies owing to the fact thatalthough"scienceandtechnology,together
are basic to the structureof modem lives" (Asad 1993, p. 49, emphasis in original), problemsof meaning continueto impel people in modem societies towards
religion.12

"My aim," Asad (1993, p. 54) wrote in the conclusion to his essay, "has
been to problematizethe idea of an anthropologicaldefinitionof religion by assigning that endeavorto a particularhistory of knowledge and power.., .out of
which the modem world has been constructed."This statementcould very easily
be used to characterizeWeber's Collected Essays in the Sociology of Religion.
"ItmightseemcuriousthatAsadshould,thus,havecontributed
a mostinsightfulessayon
tortureto a bookentitledSocialSufferingthatis clearlyconcernedwithexploringcrossethicalparadox"
(Asad1997).
culturallywhatGeertztermedthe"thesenseof intractable
on thissubjectbutpointto onlytwoworksthat
121cannotsurveyall therelevantliterature
bothtakeup the themeof problemsof meaningin modernsocieties:Keyeset al. (1994)
andKleinmanet al. (1997).

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244

KEYES
Weber sought in this collection to undertakea comparativesociology of the
relationshipbetween the majorsalvationreligions of the world (Christianity,Judaism,Hinduism,Buddhism,Chinesereligion,andIslam),the politicaleconomies
of the societies in which large majorities of the populations found the soteriological practices of these religions compelling. Weber was always concerned
with the distinctive "developmentalhistory" of each of these religious traditions ratherthan tryingto fit them into a procrusteanmold of some essentialized
religion.

THE WEBERTHESISAND ANTHROPOLOGICAL


STUDIESOF RELIGIONAND POLITICALECONOMY
Weber'scomparativestudy of world religion was predicatedon the premise that
orientationtowardthe world is shaped by the distinctive ethic followers derive
from the dogmas aboutultimaterealityembeddedin a particularsoteriology.His
"thesis,"as it came to be known, was that only the ethic derivedfrom Puritanism
madepossible the developmentof rationalbourgeoiscapitalism,whereasthe ethics
of the othergreatreligions servedas barriersto this development.In the introduction to his comparativestudy,which appearsin translationas the introductionto
the PESC, he wrote
For thoughthe developmentof economic rationalismis partlydependenton
rationaltechniqueandlaw, it is at the same time determinedby the abilityand
dispositionof men to adoptcertaintypes of practicalrationalconduct.When
these types have been obstructedby spiritualobstacles, the developmentof
rationaleconomic conducthas also met seriousinnerresistance.The magical
andreligiousforces, andthe ethicalideasof dutybaseduponthem,have in the
past always been amongthe most importantformativeinfluenceson conduct.
In the studiescollected here we shall be concernedwith these forces. (Weber
1958a, pp. 26-27)
The Weberthesis is not thatreligious ethics determinewhetheror not capitalism
can develop.
We have no intentionof maintainingsuch a foolish and doctrinairethesis as
that the spiritof capitalism... could only have arisen as the result of certain
effects of the Reformation,or even that capitalismas an economic system is
a creationof the Reformation.... On the contrary,we only wish to ascertain
whetherand to what extent religious forces have takenpartin the qualitative
formation and quantitativeexpansion of that spirit over the world. (Weber
1958a, p. 91)
The Weberthesis has inspireda largebody of workon the relationshipbetween
religion and economy in the societies in which the dogmas of the majorreligions

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WEBERANDANTHROPOLOGY 245
of the world have been widely adheredto. Many anthropologistshave also taken
up this project. However, because their studies have focused on contemporary
societies, they have for the most partreformulatedWeber'sthesis to ask not why
in the past did capitalismnot emerge in a society with a non-Westernreligion, but
instead how people in such a society today confrontthe expansion of industrial
capitalismfrom the West.13
It is not possible in this shortpaperto review in detailthe anthropologicalwork
inspiredby theWeberthesis;suchshouldbe undertakenin a reviewof the sociology
(includinganthropology)of each of the worldreligions.I only can point the reader
toward some selected works that illustratethe contributionof anthropologiststo
the projectbegun by Weber.
Although Weber was not able to complete a study of Islamic societies, there
have been many studies inspiredby the Weberthesis of the relationshipbetween
Islam and political economy. Geertzwas again at the forefrontof this work, having begun his researchin Indonesiain a Harvard-MITprojectto study the impact
of modernizationon that society. Geertz's work on Javanesereligion and modernization(Geertz 1956; 1960; 1962; 1963; 1965a,b) initiatedwhat has become
a major researchundertakingnot only by Geertz himself, but also by some of
Geertz'sstudentsandothersinfluencedby him who have workedin Indonesia(e.g.,
Peacock 1968; Geertz 1984; Hefner 1991, 2000), and also in North Africa (e.g.,
Geertz 1968; Geertz et al. 1979; Rabinow 1975, 1977; Rosen 1989; Eickelman
1976, 1985; Eickelman& Piscatori1996), Iran(Fischer 1980), andcomparatively
(Peacock 1978; Roff 1987; Clammer1985a, 1996).
Weber'sReligion of China has inspireda numberof works on the relationship
betweenreligiousvalues andeconomy in East Asian societies. Muchof this work,
beginning with Bellah's study of the religion of the Tokugawaperiod in Japan
(Bellah 1957), has been undertakenby sociologists and historians(e.g., Golzio
1985; Davis 1980, 1989 on Japan;Elvin 1984, Eisenstadt 1985, Hamilton 1985
on China),but a few studies have been done by anthropologists,especially those
attemptingto understandthe markedembraceof capitalismin Taiwan(e.g., Weller
1994, Skoggard1996a,b) and Japan(Clammer1997). Bellah's (1965) edited volume, Religion and Progress in ModernAsia, has provideda model for othercomparativeprojectson religion andpoliticaleconomic changein East, Southeast,and
South Asian societies (Buss 1985b, Clammer 1985b, Keyes et al. 1994, Hefner
1998).
Weber'sReligion oflndia (Weber1958c) "hassuffereda strangeandundeserved
fate,"wrote Gellner (2001, p. 19). It is particularlythe case among Indianiststhat
the book "has given rise to ratherlittle discussion of the numeroustheories it
puts forwardamongthe specialistsmost competentto judge them"(Gellner2001,
p. 19). This neglect has, however, been primarilyamong Indianists;it is much

13BothPeacock& Kirsch(1980,pp.231-48) andGellner(2001,Chapter1) providegood


discussionsof theWeberthesisas approached
by anthropologists.

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246

KEYES
less characteristicof studentsof TheravidaBuddhismand society. It is true that
the book is marredby "frequentobscurity and inaccuraciesin the translation"
(Gellner 2001, p. 20) that any student should be aware of.14Gellner noted that
Sanskritistsdismiss the book because it is based on old secondarysources,but the
neglect of social scientistsseems to be due moreto the fact thatthe workof another
scholar,Dumont,has been farmore influential.Dumontin his monumentalHomo
Hierarchicus:An Essay on the Caste System (1967, 1970) and his many studies
published in Contributionsto Indian Sociology, clearly set the agenda for the
sociology of Hinduism.AlthoughDumontmadefew referencesto Weber,Gellner
(2001, p. 41) arguespersuasivelythathe was "theforemostdisciple of Weberin the
study of SouthAsia." This is certainlyapparentin the work of Madan,the leading
Indian anthropologistand long-time editor of Contributionsto Indian Sociology
(Madan 1983, 1994, 1997) (see Buss 1985a, Singer 1985, Schluchter1984, and
especially Kantowsky1996 for discussion of Weber'sReligion of India).
The anthropologicalstudy of Buddhism and society, or more precisely, the
study of religion and society in those countries where Theravida Buddhism is
dominant(Sri Lanka,Burma/Myanmar,
Thailand,Cambodia,andLaos) has since
the early 1960s, unlike the anthropologicalstudies of Hinduism, been strongly
influencedby Weber.Some of this influencecan be tracedthroughsuch scholars
as Ames (1964) and Kirsch (1973, 1975, 1982), who were trained at Harvard,
or by those such as myself (Keyes 1983a, 1983b, 1990, 1993), who had a close
relationshipwith the "HarvardSchool." A second strandis associatedwith Spiro
andNash, two scholarswho were at the Universityof Chicagoin the 1950s, where
they were stronglyinfluencedby the work on developmentbeing undertakenin
otherdepartmentsat Chicago at the time. Both workedin Burmain the late 1950s
(see Spiro 1966, 1970; Nash 1965, 1966). Spiro's distinctive synthesis between
Weberianand Freudianapproachesin his work on Burma markedlyshaped the
work of his student,Obeyesekere.WhereasObeyesekereis perhapsbetterknown
as a psychologicalanthropologist,some of his earlyworkon Sri LankanBuddhism
shows a markedWeberianinfluence(Obeyesekere1968, 1972), andhis morerecent
work with the well-knowntextual scholar,Gombrich(Gombrich& Obeyesekere
1989), has made a strongcase for the emergence of a "ProtestantBuddhism"in
Sri Lankathat is conceived of in Weberianterms. AnotherdistinctiveWeberian
approachto Buddhismand society is manifestin the work of Tambiah.Although
first trainedin sociology at Cornell, Tambiah,subsequentto having carriedout
fieldworkin Thailand,came underthe influence of Leach at Cambridge.Leach,
who had always made economics basic to his ethnographic(as distinct from his
later text-based)research,had in his last fieldworkin Sri Lanka focused on the
relationshipbetween economy and culture(Leach 1959, 1961). Tambiah(1973,
1976) drewon bothLeach's social anthropologyandWeber'ssociology in a series
a numberof passagesbasedona newGerman
editionof thework
14Gellner
hasretranslated
(Weber1996).

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WEBERANDANTHROPOLOGY 247
of studies of Buddhism and society in Thailand.15Tambiahappears to be the
primaryinfluenceon Gellner(1990, 2001), who has extendedthe Weberianstudy
of Buddhismand society to the Nepali traditionof MahayanaBuddhism.
This surveycertainlydoes not accountfor all the work inspiredby the Weber
thesis, but it should suffice to indicatethat the Weberianinfluence on the anthropological studies of world religions has been quite profound.

RATIONALIZATION
AND CHARISMA:SOURCES
OF DEVELOPMENTAL
CHANGE
As discussed above with referenceto Weber'sphilosophy of history,he saw the
drive toward meaning as being a fundamentalprocess in the transformationof
the world. This drive manifests itself as rationalizationand intellectualization.
Throughthe exercise of the intellect, humanshave promotedconscious reflection
not only on the worldbutalso on the ideas with which theymakesense of the world.
Throughtime such conscious reflectionhas led to the repudiationof magic, the
systematizationof meaningsundermoregeneralprinciples,andthe self-conscious
applicationof rationalizedknowledge for action in the world (for good guides to
Weber's discussion of rationalizationsee Roth & Schluchter 1979; Schluchter
1981, 1987; andRoth 1987). Rationalizationhas often, however,been impededby
habit or by the authorityof tradition.
Rationalizationis not, however, the only process Weber saw as leading to
change.He recognizedthathumansalso act on emotionalor affectualimpulsesand
that "in times of psychic, physical, economic, ethical, religious, political stress"
(Weber 1958b, p. 245) these impulses may lead individuals to turn to a leader
who is neither the holder of an office invested with traditionalauthoritynor an
intellectual.The leadersthat emerge at such times "havebeen holders of specific
gifts of the body and spirit;and these gifts have been believed to be supernatural,
not accessible to everybody"(p. 245). Webertermedthe perceived gifts of such
individualscharisma but used the word "in a completely 'value-neutral'sense"
(p. 245) ratherthan in the specifically Christiansense from which it was derived
(On the three types of motivatedaction-traditional, rational,and charismaticsee Weber1978, pp. 24-26; also see Gerthand Mills in Weber1956b, pp. 56-57).
The long debateamong anthropologistsabout"primitivementality"thatbegan
with L6vy-Bruhl(1912, 1922, 1926, 1966) andBoas (1916), continuedwith Radin
(1927, 1953), and culminatedwith L6vi-Strauss(1966) has some resonancewith
Weber's theoreticalargumentsregardingrationalization.The links between this
debateandWeber'srationalizationhave, however,not been explicitly established.
havebeencriticalof Tambiah's
workfornotbeingsufficiently
151I
historicalin theWeberian
sense,a criticismthathe hasrejected(Keyes1978,1987;Tambiah1987).Tambiah
(1984)
hasalsocontributed
to a recentreevaluation
of Weber'sReligionoflIndia.

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248

KEYES

Rather,those anthropologistswho have takenup Weber'sprojecthave been concernedwith religiousreformsthathave occurredas a consequenceof the challenge
posed by contactbetween cultures.Examplesinclude the "internalconversion"of
Balinese religionandof a "primitive"religionthatGeertz(1964; 1973,pp. 170-92)
and Atkinson(1987) have arguedcame aboutbecause of the requirementimposed
by the Indonesianstatethatall religionsbe "religionsof the book."Otherexamples
include the reformationof TheravidaBuddhismthattook place in both Sri Lanka
and Thailandbecause of the challenge of Westernculture,includingChristianity
(Obeyesekere1972, 1995; Gombrich& Obeyesekerel989;Kirsch 1973;Tambiah
1976). Horton(1975a,b) and Hefner (1993) have both engaged Weber'sideas of
rationalizationwith referenceto conversionto Christianity.
In contrastto rationalization,Weber'snotion of charismais probablythe most
Worsley (1968), in one of the
widely used Weberianconcept in anthropology.16
most extendeddiscussionsof the conceptby ananthropologist,criticizedWeberfor
assumingthatcharismawas an attributeof personality.In fact, Worsleyended up
restatingWeber'sown position. Worsleywrote that if a "charismaticappeal... is
to become the basis of collective social actions, [it] needs to be perceived, invested
with meaning, and acted upon by significantothers: those who respond to this
charismaticappeal"(Worsley 1968, p. xi, emphasis in original). Weber (1956b,
p. 246) himself wrote thatthe claim by someone to charismaticauthority"breaks
down if his mission is not recognized by those to whom he feels he has been
sent." Bourdieu (1987, p. 131) was true to Weber'sformulationin admonishing
those who use the conceptto "disposeonce and for all the notion of charismaas a
propertyattachingto the natureof a single individual."The counterpartto charisma
might well be said to be communitas,the sense of nonhierarchalcomradeshipthat
Turner(1969) posited was characteristicof participantsin ritualsand in religious
movements.

17

A charismaticperson,both in its originalChristianmeaningof charismaand


in the ideal typical reformulationthatWeberproposed,is always someone who is
perceivedto have a directconnectionwith supernaturalor sacredpower.Charisma
is farfrombeing the synonymfor popularitythatit has become in everydayEnglish
usage. The linkage with the supernaturalor sacredis always construedaccording
to particularcompelling ideas, for example, to whetherone has been set apartby
virtue of a trip to and from the land of the dead as in classic shamanism(Kracke
1978), whetherone manifeststhe qualities of a Buddhistsaint (Keyes 1981b), or
of anof thisis the inclusionof an articleon charismain a recentdictionary
16Indicative
by anthropologists
thropology(Lindholm1997).Forothergeneraldiscussionsof charisma
see Beidelman(1971),Keyes(1981
la), andLewis(1986).I havedrawnon onlysomeof the
a systematic
literature
on
charisma
for illustration
ratherthanattempting
anthropological
surveyof relevantwork.
becameawareof Weberonly
nevermadethisconnectionhimself.He apparently
17Turner
afterjoiningthe facultyat Cornellin the early1960s.In DramaFieldsand Metaphors
he madeonereferenceto Weber(V.W.Turner1974,p. 200) withreferenceto Peacock&
Kirsch'sTheHumanDirection(1980).

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WEBERANDANTHROPOLOGY 249
whetherone articulatesa new vision that becomes the basis of a new movement
or cult (Zablocki 1980, Carter1990).
Weberconceived of the emergence of charismaticauthorityas posing a challenge to existing authoritybased on traditionor on rationalizedbureaucracy.Unlike these otherforms of authority,charismaticauthorityin its pureform is always
transitory."The charismaticholder is desertedby his following... because pure
charismadoes not know any 'legitimacy' other than that flowing from personal
strength,thatis, one which is constantlybeing proved"(Weber1958b,p. 248). It is,
thus, "thefate of charisma,wheneverit comes into the permanentinstitutionsof a
community,to give way to powersof traditionor of rationalsocialization"(Weber
1958b,p. 253). Althoughalways transitory,charismais neverfinallydomesticated
or rationalized(as Weberwould say), but eruptsfrom time to time.
Althoughmany,perhapsmost, charismaticmovementshave been what Gluckman (1954) termed"ritualsof rebellion,"in which a challenge to the social order
is followed by a reassertionof thatsame order,therehave been times when charismatic movementshave made possible a fundamentalrupturein the existing order
and have contributedto the establishmentof a new, perhaps even more rationalized order.For Weber such charismaticeruptionswere central to his theory
of developmentalhistory.A numberof anthropologistshave studied charismatic
movements,but most, like Comaroff(1985), have addedto our understandingof
how such movementsareritualsof rebellionratherthanhow they have contributed
to "breakthroughs"
(Bellah 1964) to the emergenceof new orders.Thereare a few
such studies, however, such as Obeyesekere's (1995) of AngarikaDharmapala
(Don David Hewavitarana)(1864-1933), a charismaticSinhaleseBuddhistleader
who played a key role in the developmentof ProtestantBuddhismin Sri Lanka.
Weber'stheoreticalideas about charismawere formulatedas part of a larger
effort to think throughthe question of how noncoercivepolitical authorityis established.Otherthanstudiesthatmakereferenceto charismaticauthority,Weber's
political sociology has been given little attentionby anthropologists.The time
may have come for a rediscovery of this part of Weber's contributionto social
thought.

RETHINKINGWEBER
I have attemptedto demonstratethatWeber'sinfluenceon anthropologyhas been
more profoundand pervasivethanmight be apparentgiven the relativepaucityof
directreferencesto his workin recentanthropologicalwritings.I also hope to have
demonstratedthatmuch can be gained by readingWeberin light of contemporary
issues.
Because of the influence of Foucault,many anthropologistshave come to recognize the relationshipbetween knowledge (what used to be called culture)and
power.This relationshipwas clearlyalreadyexploredin manyways by Weber.For
example, Weberrecognized long before Foucaultthe role played by discipline in
establishingauthorityover people's actions. "Thecontent of discipline is nothing

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250

KEYES
but the consistentlyrationalized,methodicallytrainedand exact execution of the
received order..." Weber(1956b, p. 253). As Gordon(1987, p. 293) observes,
Therearemanyrespectsin which one mightcompareMichel Foucault'swork
with thatof Max Weber:their studiesof forms of dominationand techniques
of discipline, their concernwith what Webercalled 'the power of rationality
over men', theirwritingson methodologyandintellectualethics, theirinterest
in Nietzsche-and the effect of thatintereston their thought.
Anthropologistscould, I believe, gain by rethinkingWeberin light of Foucaultand vice versa (Gordon 1987 provides a good startingpoint for this; also see
Turner1992, especially Chapter7).

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
I have not workedwith Weber'swritingsin Germanand, thus, disclaim any competence as a Weberianscholar.I would like to acknowledgethe guidance I have
received from GuentherRoth with regardto some problemsrelatingto the translations of Weber'sworks and in identifyingthe correspondenceof English translations of Weber'sworkto the originalworkin German.I would also like to thank
the Technical Editorfor the Annual Review of Anthropologyfor useful critical
commentseven thoughI did not take them all into account.
The Annual Reviewof Anthropologyis online at http://anthro.annualreviews.org
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WEBER AND ANTHROPOLOGY


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