Weber was a functionalist who chose to keep the social wheel turning by analyzing how the action contributes to society rather than opposing and becoming a bottle neck in the situation. I feel that he was able to see other methods as viable ways to understand sociology, for example he proposed that data could be collected using non empirical data. Max Weber (1864–1920) was one of the main social theorists of the twentieth century, and he alleged that there is a cause and effect in most social action, even though it may be perhaps more challenging to see in the social sciences than in the physical sciences because society is subjectively perceived Vissing, 2011). He also proposes that there is an interrelationship between religion, capitalist economy, and bureaucratic organizations that is evident throughout the world in my opinion.
Weber’s theory that there is a cause and effect in most social action is a familiar concept of physical science that makes perfect sense in the world of sociology as well. For example, if person A makes a derogatory comment about person B whether they personally know the person or not, that person A will more than likely receive some type of reaction. Person B might respond verbally or react physically to the comment. Most importantly there is an effect that is 90% probable. On the other hand the cause could be that Person A has a medical condition or Person B has a past with Person A. With Weber’s theory there is always a cause, which scientifically I can relate to because I apply science to everyday situations and conversations. Approaching a social interaction logically coincides with Weber’s theory also.
Weber’s theory also centers on the possibility that economic practices, capitalism and Protestantism all intertwine with one another in some way. Following the reasoning implied in the Lutheran notion of the calling, if God provides one of his chosen people with a chance to increase profit, one must take advantage of this opportunity because such an opportunity is a manifestation of one’s calling, which one has a duty to fulfill (Chalcraft, 2008 p.77). We see this in almost all churches, some people are manipulated into spending their whole life savings because they feel compelled. While Christians and other religions might indulge in the profits accumulated, they will still feel guilty in doing so. In this sense the Protestant ethic promotes a form of cultural activity, involving continuous reinvestment of profit due to consumptive restrictions, which mirrors the forms of economic practice involved in the ideal- typical model of capitalism: ‘When the limitation of consumption is combined with this release of acquisitive activity, the inevitable practical result is obvious: accumulation of capital through ascetic compulsion to save'(Weber, 1992).
Another reason that Weber appealed to me is his methodologies for his views. He apparently spent a lot of time developing his ideas and inspired many in doing so. It just so happens that there was an educational revolution taking place in Germany and Weber felt the need to redefine what a higher education actually was. Intellectuals debated philosophers and tensions grew between faculties of philosophy and professional faculties. Much of Weber’s methodological ideas came from his distaste of the historical traditions of Germanic education. Self cultivation or Bildung which is Germany’s word for education which insisted that it might be possible to relive the stories of historians (literally), this was not meant to be taken literally and Weber was able to change the perception of Bildung with his extensive methodologies.
Weber also was a political theorist who believed in democracy despite being from Germany. He also believed in fundamental human rights. He was able to appreciate protestant religions in the West while also making it interesting for the people surrounding him. At a deeper level, Weber allows us to understand what it meant for our lives that the Western religious ascetic, starting with the medieval monk, learned to observe and control his inner life- and thus acquired the all important ability to predict and to plan a course of action (Ringer, 2004 p.254). It appears that Weber was accepting of many things except when it came to German bildung which he was able to transform. Weber seems to be unbiased in many of his social interactions which I am able relate to. Being unbiased is very important to me when studying any topic whether it be sociology or archaeology.Another characteristic of Weber is his take on science and religion. He seems to be a mediator on these two controversial subjects. His society of culture goes back and forth between enchanted and disenchanted conditions. Charisma is “either a gift that inheres in an object or person simply by virtue of natural endowment” or it may be “artificially produced in an object or person” that already contains a dormant germ of it through some ascetic or preternatural regimen (Koshul, 2005). His methodologies of thought that he created while he was living in a world that was basically sheltered or against much of the Western views, amazes me. Weber stood out,at least in my eyes as a very smart individual who actually had seemingly credible information to back up his theories, in a time where there were no smart phones or computers to assist in ones research.
Chalcraft, David Howell, Fanong Lopez Menendez, Marisol(2008). Max Weber Matters: Interweaving Past and Present Abingdon, Oxon, GBR Ashgate Publishing Group
Koshul, Basit Bilal (2005). Postmodern Significance of Max Weber’s Legacy Palgrave Macmillan Gordonsville, VA, USA
Ringer, Fritz (2004).Max Weber: An Intellectual Biography University of Chicago Press Chicago, IL, USA