Max Weber || Introduction to Sociology || Bcis Notes

Max Weber || Introduction to Sociology || Bcis Notes

Max Weber (1864-1920)

Biography in brief:

Max Weber, a renowned thinker, voracious reader, profound scholar, prolific writer, an innovative and critical persona of his time. He was born in 1864 in Germany. He represents the middle class bureaucratic politically aware family.

He lived most of his early life in Berlin. He studied law at Heidelberg and Berlin University. During his academia, he studied law, economics, history, political science, theology and, philosophy in detail.

His major books are:

  • The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism
  • Theory of Bureaucracy
  • The Sociology of Religion
  • Theory of the Social and Economic Organization

As a renaissance scholar, he was highly influenced by Plato and Emmanuel Kant in particular and the rest of the world’s pioneer renaissance scholars in general. He was highly interested in religion, political power, research methodology, and economic activities.

Descriptions about his book:

1. Weber’s book entitled ‘Theory of Bureaucracy’ has projected the importance of government machinery. It is a particular system of administration. It has been associated with the rule of government and governmental officials. It is a type of hierarchical organization which is designed rationally in order to coordinate the work of many individuals in the pursuit of large scale administrative task. As he argues bureaucrats are organized according to rational principles, officials are ranked in a hierarchical order, and operations are characterized by impersonal rules.

Characteristics of the Theory of Bureaucracy

  • Provision of systematization of official relations,
  • appointment of officials on a full time and long term service basis,
  • fixed salaries, allowance, and pension, appointment based on eligibility,
  • clear- a cut division of labor, the hierarchy of authority, political neutrality and
  • well-drafted rules and regulations with legal provisions are some attributes of modern bureaucracy

Functions of Theory of Bureaucracy

  • It helps to maintain law and order and provides goods and services to the citizens.
  • It encompasses the executive, judiciary, and legislative bodies of the state.

Weber believed in a more formalized, rigid structure of an organization called bureaucracy. Examples; in the context of Nepal, PSC(Public Service Commission) or ‘Lok Sewa ayog’.

2. His book entitled ‘Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism’ has depicted that there is a close relationship between religion and economy. He clearly indicates that there is a close relationship between religious beliefs and economic activities. In order to address the research question, he intensively did comparative research on Protestants and Catholics and found that Protestants are comparatively well-to-do rather than Catholics.

His sociological work on power has given a vivid perspective. According to him, there are three types of power in society. They are:

  • Traditional power,
  • Charismatic power and
  • Legal power

Traditional power is still applied in traditional society in the field of politics. Mukhiya system among tribal, kingship systems in politics, and religious-based activities are operated within a traditional power system.

Similarly, Charismatic power is exercised by a charismatic persona by showing his charismatic leadership and vision in politics as B.P Koirala showed his elevated personality during the democratic movement.

Legal power is legitimized with the consent of citizens and is exercised within the premises of law or within a constitutional framework.

To be continued and you may also like other similar contents in Sociology


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