Max Weber

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Max Weber (1864 – 1920) was a German sociologist, philosopher and scientific management theorist. Next to his great work on modern sociology, he also became famous with his scientific management approach on Bureaucracy and his Bureaucratic Theory.

Max Weber biography

In 1882 Max Weber enrolled in the Heidelberg University. Next to being a junior lawyer, he passed in 1886 the examination for Referendar (final legal exam). In 1889 he earned his law doctorate by writing a dissertation on legal history.

After his Law studies Max Weber joined the University of Berlin’s faculty to lecture and consult the government. Next to that He had a particular interest contemporary social policy. Between 1888 and 1890, Max Weber joined Verein für Socialpolitik, to fulfil a role of economics research (statistical studies), primarily as finding solutions to the social problems of the age.

In 1890 Max Weber was in charge of a large Polish influx and migration study. The end results of this study generated great attention and created a starting point for his career as a renown social scientist.

In 1893 Max Weber became a member of the Alldeutscher Verband (Pan-German League) and gave provocative lectures in which he criticized the immigration of Polish people.

In 1894 Max Weber moved to Freiburg and became professor of economics at the University of Freiburg. His research in that period was still focused on economics and legal history.

In 1899 he had to stop his work as a professor and retire form courses because he suffered of depressions and insomnia. This to a work pause and Italy travel which lasted until 1902. He tried teaching again but needed to withdraw in 1903 and not return to it till 1919 (mental illness).

He started teaching again at the University of Munich. In this period he created major works like General Economic History, Science as a Vocation and Politics as a Vocation. This created a lot of turbulence because many colleagues and students disagree on his opinions and statements about the German Revolution.

Max Weber died in 1920 during the effects of pneumonia. He is considered to be the father of modern sociology, along with Karl Marx and Emil Durkheim.

Quotes by Max Weber

  1. “A science which attempts the interpretive understanding of social action in order thereby to arrive at a causal explanation of its course and effects.”
  2. “Power is the chance to impose your will within a social context, even when opposed and regardless of the integrity of that chance.”
  3. “Culture is a finite segment of the meaningless infinity of the world process, a segment on which human beings confer meaning and significance.”
  4. “The ethic of conviction and the ethic of responsibility are not opposites. They are complementary to one another.”
  5. “It is not true that good can only follow from good and evil only from evil, but that often the opposite is true.”
  6. “Laws are important and valuable in the exact natural sciences, in the measure that those sciences are universally valid.”
  7. “Every type of purely direct concrete description bears the mark of artistic portrayal.”
  8. “The fully developed bureaucratic apparatus compares with other organisations exactly as does the machine with the non-mechanical modes of production.”
  9. “All the analysis of infinite reality which the finite human mind can conduct rests on the tacit assumption that only a finite portion of this reality constitutes the object of scientific investigation, and that only it is important in the sense of being worthy of being known.”

Publications and books by Max Weber et al.

  • 2015, 1919. Politics as a Vocation.
  • 2009. From Max Weber: essays in sociology. Routledge.
  • 2009. The theory of social and economic organization. Simon and Schuster.
  • 2002. The Protestant ethic and the spirit of capitalism and other writings. Penguin.
  • 1994. Weber: political writings. Cambridge University Press.
  • 1981. General economic history. Transaction publishers.
  • 1978. Economy and society: An outline of interpretive sociology. Univ of California Press.
  • 1968. On charisma and institution building. University of Chicago Press.
  • 1968, 1953. The Religion of China, Confucianism and Taoism.
  • 1958. Science as a Vocation. Daedalus, 87(1), 111-134.
  • 1958. The Three Types of Legitimate Rule. Essay
  • 1946. Science as a Vocation. In Science and the Quest for Reality (pp. 382-394). Palgrave Macmillan UK.
  • 1946. Class, status, party (pp. 180-95). na.
  • 1930, 1905. The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism, Translated by Talcott Parsons… with a Foreword by RT Tawney.
  • 1924. Gesammelte aufsätze zur soziologie und sozialpolitik.

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