Wiley
Wiley.com
Print this page Share

Max Weber's Methodologies: Interpretation and Critique

ISBN: 978-0-7456-1813-5
240 pages
September 2002, Polity
Max Weber


Max Weber is widely regarded as the most important and influential figure in the history of the social sciences. Among other things, he wrote extensively on the methodology of the social sciences, but his writings on methodology are complex and are the subject of many conflicting interpretations.


In this authoritative new book, Sven Eliaeson provides a comprehensive introduction to Weber's methodology and to the various ways it has been interpreted by subsequent scholars in Europe and the United States. Eliaeson shows how the vested interests of scholars have resulted in biased interpretations of Weber's work. Weber was preoccupied with the intellectual problems of his time and not with our current disciplinary crises. By placing Weber's thought and methodology in its historical context, Eliaeson is able to provide a masterly reconstruction of his central concerns while at the same time exploring the enduring relevance of Weber's work for sociology today.


This book will be recognized as a definitive work on Weber's methodology and will be an indispensable text for students and scholars in sociology and the social sciences.

See More
List of Abbreviations.

Acknowledgements.

Introduction.

1. THE CONTEXTS.

German Historicism and the Controversy over Method.

The Post-Enlightenment Anguish of Polytheism.

Neo-Kantianism and Nominalism.

2. THE SHAPING OF WEBER'S CONCEPTUAL TOOLS.

Distinguishing the Natural from the Social Sciences.

Enter "Values" and the Problem of Selection and Value Intrusion.

Rickert: Theoretical and Practical Value-Relation.

Weber: Scientific Value-Relativism.

The Limits of Social Science Concept Formation.

Postscript: Evaluating Rickert's Influence on Weber.

3. AN ANALYSIS OF WEBER'S SOLUTION.

Objectivity, Selection, and Causal Significance.

Rational Understanding.

Weber's Anti-Psychologism.

The Ideal-type.

Conclusion.

4. THREE PARADIGMATIC CONCEPTIONS OF WEBER.

Introduction: A Brief Outline of Weber's Reception.

Talcott Parsons: Weber as a macro-sociologist.

Alfred Schutz: Weber as a 'Hermeneutic'.

Lazarsfeld and Oberschall: Weber as an empirical social scientist.

5. BEYOND APPROPRIATION. WEBER YESTERDAY AND TODAY.

The Weber-Renaissance as Living Legacy.

Selective and "Creative" Presentism.

Continuing Significance: Weber as Mediator.

Increasing Professionalization and Cohesiveness.

The Dispute about the Centre of Gravity of Weber's Work and Methodology.

Does an Overarching Interpretation Matter?.

Nietzsche, The Disenchantement Thesis and Methodology.

Appendix: The radical solution?: A note on Gunnar Myrdal and the Diffusion of Value-Orientation/Relation.

METHODOLOGICAL APPENDIX.

Recontextualizing Weber at the Crossroads.

Approaching the Classics.

Notes.

Short Biographies.

Glossary.

References.

Index.
See More
Sven Eliaeson is Professor in Sociology at the CEU in Warszawa
See More


  • A comprehensive introduction to Max Weber's methodology and its interpretations

  • Demonstrates how the Weber we meet is more of a projection of the aspirations of his interpreters than the genuine, original Weber


  • Argues that Weber's thought must be utilized today, but must also be understood in its context



  • Contributes to bridging the gulf between Anglo-Saxon and German Weberology

See More
" Eliaeson's book on Weber is stunning for its clarity and will surely lead to a resurgence in Weber studies and a new interest in Weber's overall place in comparative and classical sociology. Overall, Eliaeson goes a long way toward promoting a re-examination of Weber's work as a whole and rediscovering how Weber's methodological innovations fit into his overall sociological and historical outlook." Ken Morrison, Wilfred Laurier University, Canada

"A century ago Max Weber produced the most profound and challenging account of the fundamental problems of method in the social sciences. Sven Eliaeson's survey of the complex body of controversy, misunderstanding and interpretative dispute over Weber's approach to the relation between values, interpretation and causation in the social sciences is the best introduction to this hugely influential literature - nuanced, subtle and well formed about the myriad ways in which these issues have figured in the various intellectual traditions of Europe and the United States." Stephen Turner, University of South Florida

"[The book] is written in a student-friendly manner, and will doubtless appeal to serious undergraduates exploring some of these issues for the first time. There is enough synthesis for experts to be able to gauge where Eliaeson is coming from too...The book is a good starting point for deeper investigation of these issues for those interested in the philosophy of social science, and will be welcomed by scholars interested in Weber" Duncan Kelly, Policial Studies Review

See More

Related Titles

Back to Top