Rise of sociology as an intellectual tradition. Classical tradition in sociology of the XIX century — страница 7

  • Просмотров 3814
  • Скачиваний 80
  • Размер файла 34

examines the motivation behind social action in the economic sphere. Specifically, he suggests that the spirit that drives modern capitalistic enterprise is motivated by the ethical doctrine of Protestantism. M. Weber notes a relationship between the zeal for business profit and membership in specific Protestant denominations in Europe in the XVII century. This attitude toward moneymaking is embraced not only by the so-called captains of industry but by ordinary workers and peasants. For M. Weber, this suggests the existence of a new attitude toward work, the one in which the pursuit of gain (living to labour) has gained supremacy over the more traditional view that sees work simply as necessary for survival (labouring to live). This new way of thinking which M. Weber dubs the

“spirit of capitalism” appears concurrently with basic changes in religious thinking brought about by the Reformation. Such changes are connected with two prominent developments introduced by Martin Luther and John Calvin. What both M. Luther’s and J. Calvin’s teachings contributed was the emergence of a new type of Christian – Protestant who valued work as a moral duty, lived an ascetic lifestyle, and as a result achieved considerable success in material terms. This in turn came to be viewed as a sign of God’s favour – if one works hard, he will be saved. The notion of predestination became generally accepted that salvation was attainable, but only through a life of “good work”. Ultimately the legacy of early Protestantism, in terms how it motivated

capitalistic economic behaviour, became widespread in the Western world. At the same time, individuals largely came to reject the religious roots of the spirit of capitalism and instead became increasingly consumed by the secular passion for profit and acquisition of material goods. That’s why M. Weber defines “the spirit of capitalism” as the ideas and habits that favour the rational pursuit of economic gain. And among the tendencies identified by the researcher is a greed for profit with minimum effort, an idea that work is a burden to be avoided, especially when it exceeds what is enough for modest life. In the studies of politics and government, M. Weber unveils the definition of the state that has become so pivotal to Western social thought – the state is that entity

which possesses a monopoly on the legitimate use of physical force. Politics is understood as any activity in which the state might engage itself in order to influence the relative distribution of force. Politics thus comes to be understood as deriving from power. M. Weber is also well-known for his study of bureaucratization of the society so many aspects of modern public administration go back to him. In his work, Economy and Society (1922), he outlines a description of rationalization (of which bureaucratization is a part) as a shift from a value-oriented organization and action (traditional authority and charismatic authority) to a goal-oriented organization and action (legal-rational authority). The result is that increasing rationalization of human life traps individuals in

an “iron cage” of rule-based, rational control. Georg Simmel (1858-1918) is a German-Jewish sociologist and economist, who analyzed the impact of money relations and division of labour on human culture and alienation of labour in his main work, The Philosophy of Money (1890). Through the prism of money G. Simmel considered hidden mechanisms of social life and manifestation of various forms of labour. For him, money is both a pure form of economic relations and economic value. According to G. Simmel, values are fundamental, underlying relations in the society. Another German sociologist Ferdinand Toennies (1855-1936) is best known for his distinction between two types of social groups – Gemeinschaft or community and Gesellschaft or society. This distinction is based on the

assumption that there are only two basic forms of an actor’s will. Following his essential will, an actor sees himself as a means to serve the goals of the social group; very often it is an underlying, subconscious force. A group formed around an essential will is called Gemeinschaft. Of another type is an arbitrary will: an actor sees a social group as a means to further his individual goals; so it is purposive and future-oriented. A group formed around the arbitrary will is called Gesellschaft. Whereas the membership in Gemeinschaft is self-fulfilling, Gesellschaft is instrumental for its members. In pure sociology (theoretically) these two normal types of will are to be strictly separated; in applied sociology (empirically) they are always mixed. Thorstein Veblen