Weber was one of the early 20th century writers who was 'arguing with the ghost of Marx'
There are four major themes in his study of society
1. Religion and Class as the key dynamic factors that influence society. He agreed with Marx that 'class' as 'political economic power' was a major factor in the historical development of 'modern society' However he disagreed that 'class' was the only institution that dominated the development of modern society. Weber believed that cultural factors, especially religion, were also important. However, Weber didn't argue that religion was the cause of Capitalism but that Protestantantism and Capitalism fitted together and developed in interaction with each other. So he did NOT argue that religion 'created' capitalism.
2.Class and Inequality:Class, Status and Power
2.1 Whilst he also agreed with Marx that ownership of capital or labour separated the two major classes of society, he also argued that social inequality in modern society was more complicated than this. 2.2 He argues that differences in the amount of social power, or STATUS differences (that is the amount of admiration or respect we have) are also important aspects of inequality in modern societies.. 2.3 He argues with Marx too about political power. Weber believed that modern society was dominated, not only by owners of capital, but also by those with political power. He includes here elected politicians but also (and especially) people who have bureaucratic power. He sees bureaucracy as the major of basis of power in modern society.
3.Bureaucracy. and Rationality
He argued that modern society is distinguished from pre modernism by the way we think, feel and operate in the world. For Weber the key contrast is that we privilege rational thiinking above traditional thinking. Bureacracies are the most important social institutions creating and perpetuating modern society because they are predominantly based on rationality. 'what works most efficiently'...
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