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Weber, Max (1864–1920)

Max Weber was one of the founding fathers of sociology. Educated as a law historian and a political economist, he has been recognized as possibly the major architect of modern social science along with Karl Marx and Émile Durkheim. Weber's profound influence on the sociological discipline stems from his quest for objectivity, his historical-comparative methodology, and his claim that social science implies an effort in understanding human meanings and motivation for action. Weber is best known for his much debated thesis, “Protestantism and the Spirit of Capitalism”—which claims that the seeds of capitalism as an economic attitude, or ethos, were in the sixteenth century Protestant work ethic—and for his sophisticated conceptual analysis of power legitimation, bureaucratic organization, and status stratification. As a methodological tool ...

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