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16. Weber on Protestantism and Capitalism

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Foundations of Modern Social Thought (SOCY 151) Max Weber wrote his best-known work after he recovered from a period of serious mental illness near the turn of the twentieth century. After he recovered, his work transitioned from enthusiastically capitalist and liberal in the tradition of Adam Smith and John Stuart Mill to much more skeptical of the down-sides of modernization, more similar to the thinking of Nietzsche and Freud. In his first major work, The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism, Weber argues that the Protestant faith, especially Luther's notion of "calling" and the Calvinist belief in predestination set the stage for the emergence of the capitalist spirit. With his more complex understanding of the causes of capitalism, Weber accounts for the motivations of capitalists and the spirit of capitalism and rationalization in ways that Marx does not. 00:00 - Chapter 1. Similarities and Differences Among Marx, Nietzsche, Freud and Weber 10:22 - Chapter 2. Weber in a Historical Context 26:37 - Chapter 3. "The Protestant Ethic and The Spirit of Capitalism": The Marx-Weber Debate 32:23 - Chapter 4. The Correlation between Capitalism and Protestantism 34:11 - Chapter 5. What is the Spirit of Capitalism? 39:21 - Chapter 6. Luther's Conception of Calling 43:31 - Chapter 7. Religious Foundation of Worldly Asceticism 46:59 - Chapter 8. Asceticism and the Spirit of Capitalism Complete course materials are available at the Open Yale Courses website: This course was recorded in Fall 2009.
Foundations of Modern Social Thought (SOCY 151) We return to Weber's idea of domination, Herrschaft. Herrschaft has been translated into English as "authority" and as "domination." The translation into domination highlights the elements of power and legitimacy that are co-mingled in the concept as well as the importance of the suggestion of the asymmetrical power relationship within the concept of domination. We turn to the first way leaders legitimate their authority or domination: tradition. The primary forms of traditional rule are patrimonialism and patriachialism. For Weber, the chief difference between these forms of rule is that the patriarch rules without a staff and the patrimonial leader requires a staff that obeys his authority by virtue of personal loyalty and tradition. We end with the primary tension between traditional authority and capitalism: traditional authority systems are not motivated by profit but by satisfaction of needs. 00:00 - Chapter 1. Review of Weber's Theory of Domination 14:34 - Chapter 2. Review of Three Types of Authority 21:28 - Chapter 3. Basis of Legitimacy 28:40 - Chapter 4. Patterns of Recruitment of Staff 33:58 - Chapter 5. Historical Evolution of Types of Authority Complete course materials are available at the Open Yale Courses website: This course was recorded in Fall 2009.
Foundations of Modern Social Thought (SOCY 151) Diverging significantly from Marx's idea that history can be traced by the modes of production and the economy, Weber argues that history is characterized by different modes of authority. Leaders gain authority through domination, a combination of power and legitimacy. Weber argues that throughout history, leaders have successfully established domination (power along with legitimacy) in three modes of authority: traditional, charismatic, and legal-rational. 00:00 - Chapter 1. Review of Second Test Questions 21:43 - Chapter 2. Four Types of Social Action 35:39 - Chapter 3. Weber's Notion of Rationality 38:51 - Chapter 4. Power and Domination 42:01 - Chapter 5. What is Legitimacy? 45:06 - Chapter 6. Types of Domination and Authority Complete course materials are available at the Open Yale Courses website: This course was recorded in Fall 2009.
Foundations of Modern Social Thought (SOCY 151) Charismatic authority, unlike traditional authority, is a revolutionary and unstable form of authority. Weber borrows the religious term of charisma and extends its use to a secular meaning. Audiences and followers believe that charismatic leaders have a close connection to a divine power, have exceptional skills, or are exemplary in some way. Charismatic leaders promise change in the future for the society and also change people's attitudes and values; in this way, charismatic authority is revolutionary in a way that traditional and legal-rational authority are not. However, charisma is unstable and deteriorates if the leader cannot produce the changes he promises or when he confronts the contradictory logics and demands of the other types of authority. There are particular ways—including search, revelation, designation, or heredity—that charismatic successors are identified, but transferring charismatic authority is difficult and not always successful. 00:00 - Chapter 1. Weber's Theory on Charisma 09:38 - Chapter 2. Definition of Charisma 15:12 - Chapter 3. The Source of Charisma 22:46 - Chapter 4. What About the Followers? 27:58 - Chapter 5. Charisma as Irrationality; Charisma as a Revolutionary Force 39:26 - Chapter 6. Problem of Routinization; Methods of Succession Complete course materials are available at the Open Yale Courses website: This course was recorded in Fall 2009.
Foundations of Modern Social Thought (SOCY 151) Along with the macro-level shift from traditional forms of authority to legal-rational authority, Weber's theory of class identifies a macro-level shift from status to class determining life chances. In feudal times, under traditional forms of authority, monarchs or others in power conferred high status upon individuals and material wealth followed; first a man would be named a nobleman, and then he would get his estate. In the modern capitalist era, individuals obtain their monetary or material wealth and their class position vis-à-vis the market determines their life chances. Weber, in contrast to Marx, argues that class is a modern phenomenon. However, this does not mean that our modern and contemporary world does not have versions of status. Like remnants of traditional and charismatic authority co-mingled with legal-rational authority in the state and other institutions, status still determines life chances to a certain extent. The influence of status is somewhat subsumed under Weber's category of social class. 00:00 - Chapter 1. Remarks for Final Exam 04:06 - Chapter 2. Introduction to Weber's Theory on Class 19:57 - Chapter 3. Definition of Class 29:59 - Chapter 4. Definition of Status Group 38:19 - Chapter 5. Class and Status Compared; Types of Classes Complete course materials are available at the Open Yale Courses website: This course was recorded in Fall 2009.
Foundations of Modern Social Thought (SOCY 151) Emile Durkheim, a French scholar who lived from 1858 until 1917, was one of the first intellectuals to use the term "sociology" to describe his work. In the early years of his career, Durkheim's orientation was functionalist (The Division of Labor in Society) and positivist (The Rules of Sociological Method); in the early twentieth century he took a cultural turn and became interested in religion (The Elementary Forms of Religious Life). Throughout his career, Durkheim was a methodological collectivist, and—unlike Marx and Weber, who were interested in social conflict—was consistently interested in what holds society together. Durkheim argues in The Division of Labor in Society that the type of social solidarity has changed, due to the increasing division of labor, from mechanical solidarity between similar individuals to organic solidarity based on difference. Inspired by Montesquieu, Durkheim tracks this change in types of solidarity and change in what he termed the "collective conscience" by looking at a shift in law, from penal law focused on punishing individuals to restitutory law based on contract. Durkheim believed that society would function better if individuals labor at different and complementary tasks with the same vision or goal in mind. 00:00 - Chapter 1. Durkheim in a Historical Context 17:17 - Chapter 2. "The Division of Labor in Society": Major Themes 26:16 - Chapter 3. The Law in Pre-modern and Modern Societies 31:41 - Chapter 4. Mechanical Solidarity and Organic Solidarity Complete course materials are available at the Open Yale Courses website: This course was recorded in Fall 2009.
Foundations of Modern Social Thought (SOCY 151) The purest form—the ideal type—of Weber's legal-rational type of authority is bureaucracy. Legal-rational authority indicates that authority is invested in a set of rules and rule-bound institutions and that the creating and changing the rules are outside of the control of those who administer them; it does not mean, however, that the authority is democratic. Monarchs and even authoritarian leaders who recognize a set of laws external to their powers govern using legal-rational authority. The characteristics of bureaucracy include a fixed salary, posts based on technical skill rather than personal connections, a well-defined hierarchy, and continuous rules which bind the behavior of administrators and citizens or clients alike. 00:00 - Chapter 1. Introduction to Weber's Theory on Legal Rational Authority 04:00 - Chapter 2. Pure Type of Legal Rational Authority 18:17 - Chapter 3. The Bureaucracy 37:58 - Chapter 4. Limitations of Bureaucratic Authority Complete course materials are available at the Open Yale Courses website: This course was recorded in Fall 2009.