What did Weber contribute to sociology?

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M.P. Ossa | College Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

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Maximilian Weber was a methodological philosopher and social scientist who strongly supported the application of structure to the study of the field. In his own words, he describes sociology as 

a science that attempts the interpretive understanding of social action in order thereby to arrive at a causal explanation of its course and effects.

Like Durkheim (although Weber was not one of his followers as far as Durkheim's views on positivism), Weber also believed in the application of normative rules that may help understand and predict behaviors that affect society as a whole. 

Weber supported bureaucracy as a necessary consequence of society. He is one of the few sociologists who acknowledged that there are social ranks among individuals, even when they claim a socialist status. In that case, the government would be at the top rank thus monopolizing the overall sense of the community in terms of safety, security, fairness, and leadership. In not too many words, Weber was one of the first sociologists to extrapolate and analyze the consequences of social leverage among individuals. It is his most popular work The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism where he exposes the reality of how there are several elements to be analyzed in terms of social authority. In other words, Weber shows that, regardless of claims of solidarity , there will always be a hierarchy in society, despite of how united a group may be. There will always be a chief. 

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