Peter M. Blau (essay date 1962)

(Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: "Critical Remarks on Weber's Theory of Authority," in The American Political Science Review, Vol. LVII, No. 2, June, 1963, pp. 305-16.

[Originally delivered as a lecture at the Annual Meeting of the American Political Science Association in 1962, the following essay examines the role of authority and bureaucracy in Weber's sociology.]

Max Weber has often been criticized for advocating a wertfrei, ethically neutral approach in the social sciences and for thereby denying to man, in the words of Leo Strauss, "any science, empirical or rational, any knowledge, scientific or philosophic, of the true value system." On the other hand, Carl Friedrich points out...

(The entire section is 8015 words.)

Hans H. Gerth (essay date 1964)

(Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: "Max Weber's Political Morality," in Max Weber's Political Sociology: A Pessimistic Vision of a Rationalized World, edited by Ronald M. Glassman and Vatro Murvar, Greenwood Press, 1984, pp. 29-38.

[Originally presented as a lecture at Hokkaido University in Japan in 1964, the following essay discusses Weber's thoughts on the major political movements of the twentieth century, most notably fascism and totalitarianism.]

Since World War II, Max Weber has become as influential and controversial as Karl Marx was before the conversion of the latter's thought into dogma by one-party socialist states. Karl Jaspers, the psychiatrist and existentialist philosopher, saw...

(The entire section is 3422 words.)

Guenther Roth (essay date 1964)

(Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: "Political Critiques," in Scholarship and Partisanship: Essays on Max Weber, by Reinhard Bendix and Guenther Roth, University of California Press, 1970, pp. 55-69.

[Originally delivered as a lecture at a meeting of the American Sociological Association in 1964, the following essay articulates major objections to Weber's socio-political views, concluding that Weber sought to reconcile through his work the tension between opposing theoretical stances.]

Max Weber has been a major target for a series of critiques aimed at political sociology in general, if not at most of social science. These critiques either use a sociological approach for political purposes or...

(The entire section is 4189 words.)

Reinhard Bendix (essay date 1970)

(Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: "Sociology and the Distrust of Reason," in Scholarship and Partisanship: Essays on Max Weber, by Reinhard Bendix and Guenther Roth, University of California Press, 1970, pp. 84-105.

[The following essay, originally read as the Presidential Address to the 65th Annual Meetings of the American Sociological Association in 1970, examines Weber's essay "Science as a Vocation" and the late-twentieth century disillusionment with science.]

Historical Perspectives and Sociological Inquiry as the theme of an American sociological convention would have been incongruous twenty years ago. It is not so today. We meet amidst upheaval directly affecting the academic...

(The entire section is 7730 words.)

Carl Mayer (essay date 1973)

(Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: "Max Weber's Interpretation of Karl Marx," in Social Research, Vol. 42, No. 4, 1973, pp. 701-19.

[In the following essay, which was originally presented as a lecture at the University of Constance in 1973, Mayer contends that Marx's theories only became an important element of Weber's work after his illness from 1899 to 1902.]

More than thirty years ago, Albert Salomon published an essay in which he asserted not merely that Max Weber's work could be understood only if seen against the background of Karl Marx but also that Weber's work itself was the product of an intense, life-long preoccupation with Marx. This assertion is not literally correct. In the first...

(The entire section is 6084 words.)

Dirk Käsler (essay date 1979)

(Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: "Methodological Writings," in Max Weber: An Introduction to His Life and Work, translated by Philippa Hurd, Polity Press, 1979, pp. 174-96.

[Originally published in German in 1979, the following essay examines the three main tenets supporting Weber's methodology.]

[If] we speak of Weber's methodology today, we mean for the most part those methodological observations which originally appeared separately in periodicals and which were published posthumously in 1922 by Marianne Weber under the title Gesammelte Aufsätze zur Wissenschaftslehre (Collected Essays on Scientific Methodology). We must realize that these collected texts consisted of casual projects...

(The entire section is 8859 words.)

John Owen King III (essay date 1983)

(Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: "American Apocalypse: Max Weber," in The Iron Melancholy: Structures of Spiritual Conversion in America from the Puritan Conscience to Victorian Neurosis, Wesleyan University Press, 1983, pp. 289-322.

[In the following essay, King discusses Weber's struggle with the alienation and moral stringency of Puritanism as evidenced in The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism.]

If my own activity does not belong to me, if it is an alien compulsive activity, to whom does it belong? To a being other than myself. Who is this being? The gods?

[Karl Marx, from the "economic-philosophic manuscripts" of 1844, in the...

(The entire section is 14627 words.)

Anthony T. Kronman (essay date 1983)

(Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: "Modernity," in Max Weber, Stanford University Press, 1983, pp. 166-88.

[In the following essay, Kronman explains Weber's reaction to and interpretation of the trends in modern social life.]

Beneath its richly detailed surface, Weber's Rechtssoziologie exhibits a surprising consistency and unity of purpose. Throughout, Weber is concerned with a single subject—the development of the institutions and forms of thought most characteristic of the modern legal order. 'Our interest', he remarks, 'is centred upon the ways and consequences of the "rationalization" of the law, that is, the development of those juristic qualities which are characteristic...

(The entire section is 11837 words.)

Vatro Murvar (essay date 1983)

(Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: "Max Weber Today: An Introduction to a Living Legacy," in Max Weber Today: An Introduction to a Living Legacy: Selected Bibliography, Max Weber Colloquia and Sumposia, 1983, pp. 1-30.

[In the following essay, Murvar discusses major issues in the critical literature on Weber's writings.]

Max Weber (1864-1920) is generally recognized as one of the major figures in sociological, political and economic theory. Comparisons of his intellectual and scientific legacy with the thought of Machiavelli, Hobbes, Rousseau, Marx, Tocqueville, Keyes and other have been commonplace. Moreover, the extraordinary impact of Weber's interdisciplinary, historical-comparative, however...

(The entire section is 5907 words.)

Rogers Brubaker (essay date 1984)

(Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: "Weber's Moral Vision," in The Limits of Rationality: An Essay on the Social and Moral Thought of Max Weber, George Allen & Unwin, 1984, pp. 91-112.

[In the following essay, Brubaker examines the underlying philosophy of ethics in Weber's works.]

Weber presents himself as an empirical scientist, not as a moral philosopher. It is true that he has no moral philosophy in the traditional sense. He elaborates no rules of individual conduct, harbors no vision of an ideal society. And the standard terms of moral argument—good, right, ought, should—are conspicuously absent from his vocabulary. Yet the whole of his scientific work is informed by a fundamentally...

(The entire section is 7538 words.)

Dennis Wrong (essay date 1984)

(Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: "Marx, Weber, and Contemporary Sociology," in Max Weber's Political Sociology: A Pessimistic Vision of a Rationalized World, edited by Ronald M. Glassman and Vatro Murvar, Greenwood Press, 1984, pp. 69-81.

[In the following essay, Wrong explains the influence of Marxist theory on Weber's thought.]

The failure of our multiple particular researches conducted with increasingly precise and complex methods to cumulate into a coherent overall vision of the world largely accounts for the immense flowering of interest in recent years in the so-called classical sociologists. This new interest has been especially pronounced in the cases of Marx and Weber, both of...

(The entire section is 4224 words.)

Hans-Ulrich Derlien (essay date 1991)

(Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: "Beaurocracy in Art and Analysis: Kafka and Weber," in Journal of the Kafka Sociely of America, Nos. 1-2, 1991, pp. 4-16.

[In the following essay, Derlien examines the Weberian influence in the works of Franz Kafka.]

Sociology of literature is based upon the assumption that literary fiction, through the personal concern of the artist, reflects societal conditions. Yet, surprisingly little sociological work has been undertaken to analyze the reflection in literature of bureaucracy as a social phenomenon—at least in the German speaking countries. Elsewhere the administrative novel as a special genre has been extensively discussed (Egger 1959; Kroll 1965; Savage...

(The entire section is 7245 words.)

Bryan S. Turner (essay date 1996)

(Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: "Logic and Fate in Weber's Sociology," in For Weber: Essays on the Sociology of Fate, second edition, SAGE Publications, 1996, pp. 3-28.

[In the following essay, Turner discusses Weber as a neo-Kantian thinker, and contrasts his sociological ideas with those of Karl Marx.]

With the development of various radical movements in the social sciences in the 1960s and 1970s, Marxists became increasingly insistent on demonstrating the presence of a sharp dividing line between conventional sociology and Marx's theory of society. In mounting a critique of the claims of sociology to a scientific status, Marxists have frequently selected Max Weber's sociology as the...

(The entire section is 8328 words.)