Max Weber

Max Weber

This is another small book by Randall Collins, one of the great intellectuals of the 20th century, though he’s virtually unheard of outside Sociology.

Weber is known primarily for Capitalism and the Protestant Ethic, the thesis that Christian ideas and practice, and especially Protestant ideas, led to capitalism.

But the Protestant Ethic was only a small part of Weber’s huge output, and in other places he treats other parts of the equation, including raw power and material circumstances, at length.

This survey book deals with Weber as an idealist, but also with his overall theory of the conditions required for industrialization, his writings on power in general, and his wider religious writings, which included an analysis of religion in ancient Egypt, China, and Judaism. It also deals with his theme of rationalization (bureaucratization), which some take as his actual master thesis.

You will get more from this book than any other I am reviewing this year, save perhaps Collins other small book on “non-obvious sociology.”

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