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Enchantment/Disenchantment

Among the better-known concepts of Weberian theory are those of enchantment and disenchantment. German theorist Max Weber posits that the “enchanted” world of the past, in which spirits roamed and magical beliefs were a part of individuals' routine experience, grew progressively more “disenchanted” with the development of modern capitalism and the concomitant rise of formal rationality exemplified by, among others, the bureaucracy.

The Weberian perspective posits that premodern societies were more “enchanted” than modern societies. Traditional societies or communities, which tended to be small and homogenous, embraced magic and mystery. They were guided by substantive rather than formal rationality: Individuals and societies defined and pursued goals based on abstract teachings, such as the ideals and ideas of religion.

Weber's work links the development of capitalism to an ...

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