MAX WEBER: HORIZONS OF SOCIOLOGICAL EXPERIENCE

Abstracts

WEBER’S LIMITS: Value and Meaning, Rationality and Individualism

JOHANNES WEISS
On his way to what finally became his Verstehende Soziologie, Max Weber did a whole lot of delimitation work. It referred, first, to the limits of strictly empirical social science as opposed to normative or metaphysical endeavours, and secondly to methodological differentiations (history/culture vs. nature, or idiographic vs. nomothetic), methodical procedures (individualism as empirical method or valuation, interpretative understanding and/or causal explanation), and methodological or analytical concepts (value vs. meaning, ideal type vs. generic concepts, action vs. behaviour). Not always, though, Weber´s limitations – as to one side of the differentiation, or even both – turn out to be sufficiently clear or complete. Some examples for that are given and discussed.

Keywords: value, meaning, rationality, individua-lism

MAX WEBER’S ‘SOCIOLOGY’ AS SEEN AGAINST THE HISTORY OF HIS WORK

KLAUS LICHTBLAU

The article considers Weber’s move from history to sociology and from cultural science to verstehende sociology. While these issues are not new, this article scrutinizes them in terms of the complete history of the works of Max Weber, which are now available through the publications of the Max Weber-Gesamtausgabe. Also considered is the relation between Weber’s early use of stages theory of historical development and the individualism imputed to him. At root is the changing relation of methodology to his substantive studies in social economics, law, domination, religion and universal history.

Keywords: interpretive sociology, developmental history, methodology, cultural science

THE DUALITY OF STRUCTURE AND ACTION:
OUTLINE FOR A WEBERIAN RESEARCH PROGRAMME

WOLFGANG SCHLUCHTER
In my book Foundations in Sociology, I depicted Max Weber’s approach as an alternative to Marx and Durkheim on the one hand, Parsons, Mead, Habermas and Luhmann on the other. I tried to demonstrate that Weber has provided us with a viable research program which merits further elaboration. In this essay, I want to spell out the outline of such a Weberian research program. It can be regarded as a third sociology, overcoming the opposition between methodological individualism and holism. It is based on methodological relationism and on a two-sided and multi-level explanatory model, employing the notion of the duality of structure and action. Its analytical power is illustrated with reference to Weber’s study on ascetic Protestantism and on the economic ethic of the world religions.

Keywords: Max Weber, Protestant Ethic, metho-dological relationism, social mechanisms

NEITHER “AN ARTISTIC APPROACH” NOR “TACT”, BUT “OBJECTIVELY BASED KNOWLEDGE”

HUBERT TREIBER
In his ‘Critical Studies regarding the logic of the sciences of Kultur’ (1906) Max Weber attacked the appeal to ‘tact’ or refined intuition that was common among historians, and demanded instead an ‘objectivising cognition’, by which he meant the use of precise concepts and also the application of ‘judgements of objective possibility’ (von Kries) in construing causal relationships. In the 19th century especially, representatives of the most diverse academic disciplines sought to describe their activity as ‘tact’ or ‘native wit [Witz]’, and in doing so they frequently made a distinctive “area association” (Danneberg) to the realm of art and aesthetics, or in the language of the day, to ‘artistic and graphic activity’. The multiple significances contained in this idea can be reduced to a single core by means of a brief conceptual history, which to a large extent follows the guidelines laid down by Gottfried Gabriel. Hermann Helmholtz (whose theory of perception is also briefly sketched, because of its potential epistemological implications) introduces the concept of ‘wit’ into one of his writings. This proves to be a key concept in laying bare the core significance of ‘tact’. Relying on Kant’s distinction between reflective and determinative judgement and the interpretation offered by Gabriel, it opens up the possibility that the ‘logical structure of knowledge’ posited by Weber largely follows the path indicated by Kant. Since ‘tact’ includes the power ‘to discover hitherto unsuspected similarities’ (Helmholtz), and hence the capacity for analogical thinking; and since Weber sees this talent as valid only in the context of the origins of knowledge, it is an obvious next step to test to what extent analogical thinking is employed in discussions regarding the foundations of knowledge, making use of the example of the kinetic gas theory. This example suggests itself because von Kries makes a close connection between his doctrine of “objective possibility” and the theory of ‘freedom of manoeuvre’ or ‘range’ [Spielraum]’, also developed by him, which is directed equally at ideal games of chance and at Ludwig Boltzmann’s kinetic gas theory — something Max Weber overlooked when he “plundered” the work of von Kries.

Keywords: „takt“ in the former meaning of wit, i.e. an artistic viewpoint which stimulates thinking by analogy; the reflective and determinative power of judgement (Kant); creating „objective“ knowledge by means of judgements of „objective possibility“ (von Kries); von Kries: theory of range (Spielraumtheorie): ideal games of chance and kinetic gas theory as models
THE PROTESTANT ETHIC – THE NEGLECTED CENTRE-POINT IN THE WORK OF MAX WEBER

PETER GHOSH
The aim of this paper is that stated in its title: to explain some of the reasons why Max Weber’s ‘Protestant Ethic’ should be seen a central component in his work and thought, and not, as is currently the case, a text which receives much lip-service but is substantially ignored. One chief reason for the text’s neglect (Section I) lies in Weber’s ostentatious use of historical materials which appear remote to social scientists today. It should however be understood that the ‘Protestant Ethic’ is a statement about modernity from beginning to end – Weber is only using the past to make a statement about the present – while the allegedly “historical” criticisms of the text made by sociologists have no foundation, because they are made in ignorance of Weber’s historicist premises. A principal component of Weber’s analysis of modernity is his interest in modern rationalism or rationality (Section II). Here it should be noted that while the ‘Protestant Ethic’ began as a statement about capitalism, it was then overlaid by a second, overlapping statement about rationality. This is extremely important, and we cannot understand Weber’s thinking on this subject by relying on later texts (such as ‘Economy and Society’) alone. Another major element of his modern thought, and one of the most neglected, is his thinking about ethics (Section III). Here – as its title suggests – the ‘Protestant Ethic’ is of unique importance. This paper draws on my book, Max Weber and the Protestant Ethic: Twin Histories (2014) but, especially in the first and third sections, goes beyond it, and constitutes an independent statement.

Keywords: Max Weber, Protestant Ethic, history, rationalism, rationality, ethics

ETHICAL RATIONALIZATION OF EVERYDAY LIFE: ON THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN RELIGIOUS AND EVERYDAY HABITUS

KOLYO KOEV
This paper offers a reconstruction of the practical logic on which the process of ‘ethical rationalization of everyday life’ is based, displaying a Weberian category which usually remains in shadow: category ‘habitus’. The ethical rationalization is treated as consequent systematic actions for transformation of the world (everydayness), motivated by a transcendent value core (extra-everydayness), which, instead of simply being an obligation, imposed from without, energizes ‘from within’ the actions in the world (everydayness) due to its embodiment into a specific this-worldly ‘habitus’, interpreted as ‘certitudo salutis’ (extra-everydayness).Thus the ethical rationalization of everyday life is seen as presupposing an incessant tension but also continuous interplay, rather than a rigid differentiation, between everyday and extra-everyday in the habitus, developed by the participants. The motive of ethical rationalization is also taken as an occasion for discussing some points of intersection between Bourdieu’s and Weber’s notion of habitus, which eventually reveal a deep-seated discrepancy between the theoretical sensibilities of both thinkers.

Keywords: ethical transformation, everydayness, extra-everydayness, habitus, rationalization, religious virtuoso

 

 

Read more: Abstracts Eng

Contents
MAX WEBER: HORIZONS OF SOCIOLOGICAL EXPERIENCE

Issue Editors: Johannes Weiss, Kolyo Koev

 

THEORETICAL TOPOI

Weber’s Limits: Value and Meaning, Rationality and Individualism
Johannes Weiss

Max Weber’s “Sociology” аs Seen against the History of His Work
Klaus Lichtblau

The Duality of Structure and Action: Outline for a Weberian Research Programme
Wolfgang Schluchter

Neither “an Artistic Approach” nor “Tact”, but “Objectively Based Knowledge”
Hubert Treiber

THE FOCUS OF RELIGION

The Protestant Ethic – the Neglected Centre-Point in the Work of Max Weber
Peter Ghosh

Ethical Rationalization of Everyday Life: On the Relationship between Religious and Everyday Habitus
Kolyo Koev

Worldview and Relations to the World. The Concepts of karman and bhakti in Weber’s Study of Hinduism and Buddhism
Martin Fuchs


TRAJECTORIES OF TRANSLATION AND RECEPTION

Max Weber Worldwide. The Reception and the Relevance of a Classic in Times of Change
Edith Hanke

“A Work Not Yet Translated Is Only Half Published”
Jean-Pierre Grossein

Modernity as Destiny or as Utopia:
The Reception of Max Weber in Brazil
Sérgio da Mata

Zur Puritanismuszentrierung in Max Webers Wirtschaftsethik der Weltreligionen am Beispiel Chinas
Rongfen Wang

A CONTINUING TOPIC

Socialist Trade in Bulgaria (1954–1963): Ideology, Discipline and Marketing
Elitza Stanoeva

SOCIAL ENTREPRENEURSHIP:
TOWARDS IDENTIFYING THE PHENOMENON  

Social Entrepreneurship
Georgy Fotev

ALONG THE FAULT LINES

Ethnic Identity, Intolerance, and Mounting Anxiety in the Modern World. Society against the State, the State against the Individual  
Stefan Em. Nikolov

FACE-TO-FACE

The Logic of Escalating Modernity. Critique of Temporal Relations (Goethe-Institut, 17 September 2015, Sofia)
Hartmut Rosa
MARGINAL NOTES

On Passion in Science and People Following Their Own Path (Ivan Tchalakov. On Entrepreneurship and the Ability to
Withstand in Science. Sociology of Laboratory Life. Sofia: Iztok-Zapad, 2015)
Tihomir Mitev

Scenes from the Life of Metaphors (Hans Blumenberg. Paradigms for a Metaphorology. Sofia: KX – Critique & Humanism, 2015)
Valentin Kalinov

IN MEMORIAM

Vladimir Yadov (1929–2015)

Scientific Events

Attitudes towards Difference and Their Impact on Social Processes (Roundtable and National School for Doctoral Students and Young Researchers in the Social Sciences, 28 May, 2015, Sofia)
Teodora Hristova

Inequalities in Transitions from Education to Work: a Focus on Central and Eastern Europe (International Conference, 24–25 September 2015, Sofia)
Petya Ilieva-Trichkova

The Village: Communities and Identities, Transformations and Challenges (Annual Conference on Rural Problems, 20 October 2015, Sofia)
Dona Pickard, Galina Koleva

Middle Class, Education, Employment: the Contribution of the Social Sciences (Third Conference on the Middle Class, 4–5 November 2015, Sofia)
Galina Koleva

The Socio-analytic Turnabout: Bourdieu and after Him (Jubilee Scientific Conference, 20–21 November 2015, Plovdiv)
Martina Mineva

14th Congress of BSA (December 11, 2015, Hall 2 of Sofia University St. Kliment Ohridski)
Diana Nenkova

Reviews and Comments

The Social Construction of Penitentiary Technologies: Martin Kanoushev, “Crime and Punishment in the Nation State”
Todor Hristov

When the Pursuit of Knowledge Becomes a Vocation

Veneta Krasteva

The Middle Class: 15 Years of Research and Development
Karamfil Manolov

New books

Abstracts

Contents of the 47th YEAR OF THE JOURNAL SOCIOLOGICAL PROBLEMS

Contents

Copyright © 2012 sp-bg.eu. All Rights Reserved.