I chose to write about Max Weber because of the three founding fathers of Sociology (Marx, Durkheim and Weber) I found Max Weber to be the most interesting and well-rounded sociologist. Max Weber had many influences in his life. These influences helped to develop his sociological theories. I will examine what I feel are the three main components of his sociological beliefs; Protestant Ethic, Capitalism and Rationalization. I will also discuss Weber’s background as I feel that it impacted his views and his Sociological theories.
Max Weber was born into a Protestant family in 1864. Because his family was Protestants, they were industrialist. The Weber’s were a distinguished family that had many social and political acquaintances (Delaney, 2014). Marx was surrounded by an intellectual circle. His upbringing not only resulted in him becoming one of our founding fathers of Sociology, but his brother, Alfred Weber, became a celebrated Philosopher, Scientist and Sociologist as well (Smith, 1995) . Weber’s mother, Helena Fallenstien was a devout Calvinist who sought to become closer to God. Weber’s father, Max Weber Senior, on the other hand, was more influenced and interested in Politics (Smith, 1995) than religion. Because of their stark interests, there was an ongoing tension in the Weber household. Weber was initially influenced by his father’s ideals. His father influenced him to become a Politician. The senior Weber had very conservative views and was a secret servant. Max senior was hard on the entire family and Max was often patronized by his father. Max attended Heidelberg and Berlin, where he practiced law and history (Delaney, 2014). Weber took a liking to academic activities and became a professor of Economics and Political Science. In addition to a professional focus, Max also developed a personal life. He was engaged to a cousin for six years but ended the engagement due to his fiancé having experienced mental health problems, which resulted in being institutionalized (Smith, 1995). Max went on to marry yet another cousin, on his father’s side of the family, Marianne Schnitger (Delaney, 2014. Marianne, like Max, was an intellect. She wrote a book, “Wives and Mothers in the Evolution of Law”. Marianne’s book was reviewed by none other than Emile Durkheim (Smith, 1995). Weber continued to be surrounded by a circle of intellects, as his wife ran a saloon in their home and often invited distinguished thinkers (Delaney, 2014). While Weber and his wife shared the same background and interests, it is said that the union was never consummated (Delaney, 2014). Weber later fell in love with Else von Richtofen. The love affair between Max and Else lasted a lifetime; in fact, it was reported that Else was at his deathbed (Smith, 1995). Max Weber went on to pursue his interests and became accredited in his field. In spite of his many accomplishments, Max never stood up to his father because his father was intimidating. As Max continued pursue his own endeavors, he began to embrace his mother’s ideologies. It is reported that on one occasion, Weber’s mother wanted to visit her children alone. Max senior was against it, which ensued a big argument (Delaney, 2014). For the first time, Weber stood up to his father and took his mother’s side. Senior Weber died shortly after the confrontation, which caused Max to suffer a mental breakdown. The breakdown would last for five years (Delaney, 2014). When Max recovered from his mental breakdown, he emerged a new man, with a different outlook. Max emerged as a skeptic of modernization and he began to question his previously Capitalist and Liberal views. Max wrote “The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism”. Max studied world religions, such as Judaism, China and India (Stark, Spri). Max noted that Middle Eastern religions were based on leaders who performed heroic feats. Max stated that many world...
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