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The Sociology of Max Weber

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The Sociology of Max Weber

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  • November 11, 2008
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Max Weber was one of the most influential figures in sociological research and helped found sociology as a science. Being raised in a family of scholars and politicians gave Weber the leverage to succeed. At first, Weber studied law and economics, but he later switched his focus onto, or rather intertwined it with, society. According to Stephen Kalberg, Weber was the one founder of sociology that went beyond the standards of his peers; his most famous achievements include his study of religion: from Christianity in America to Buddhism in China, as well as government (8). Eventually, Weber took on the interactionist perspective and developed four main points on social action (Knox 11, Elwell). The Life of Max Weber

Maximilian Carl Emil Weber was born in Erfurt, Thuringia, Prussia (modern day Germany) in 1864. His mother, Helene Fallenstein, came from a wealthy Huguenot family and valued her religion. Max Weber Senior, however, was an active and domineering politician (Poggi 1). Weber gained an early perspective on politics and government from his father and his father’s associates. His mother’s Huguenot dynasty reached far beyond Germany, feeding his interest in economics. During Weber’s childhood, Germany had taken on the appearance of an authoritarian society (Poggi 2). In 1869, Max Weber Senior took his family and moved to Berlin for a political faction where Weber got his educational start. While at school in Berlin, Weber often sent home letters with references to Homer, Virgil, and Cicero, clearly showing an interest in the social sciences (Bendix 1).

In 1882, Weber enrolled at the University of Heidelberg where he studied law (Poggi 4). He spent the next few years doing military service, something he was quite proud of. In 1884, he went from the University of Berlin to the University of Göttingen. In order to receive his doctorate in law, Weber wrote The History of Commercial Partnerships in the Middle Ages in 1889. Two years later, Weber earned the...