Describe Weber's theory of social change.

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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For Weber, social change was not simply something that came about because of class conflict.  His theory of social change is meant as a challenge to this sort of Marxian analysis.  Instead, Weber argued that social change could come about in two main ways.

First, it could come about purposefully.  This would happen when people's understanding of the world changed and they then tried to change society to match.  An example of this would be Weber's idea that the Protestant Reformation helped lead to the creation of true capitalism.

Second, it could come about accidentally.  Here, Weber was saying that things such as wars could have major impacts on society even though the people fighting the war had no intention of causing such change to occur.

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