Stephen Kalberg’s The Social Thought of Max Weber, the newest volume of the SAGE Social Thinkers series, provides a concise introduction to the work, life, and influence of Max Weber, considered to be one of three most important founders (along with Marx and Durkheim) of sociology. The book serves as an excellent introduction to the full range of Weber’s major themes, and explores in detail the extent to which they are relevant today. It is ideal for use as a self-contained volume or in conjunction with other sociological theory textbooks.
Chapter 1: The Person and the Intellectual Context
The Person and the Intellectual Context
Max Weber was born in Erfurt, Germany, into a distinguished and cosmopolitan family of entrepreneurs, scholars, politicians, and strong women. Most of his younger years were spent in Berlin. He attended a series of excellent schools that required a strenuous regimen of study.
Recognized early on as an exceptional student, he developed a precocious love of learning and a particular fondness for philosophy, literature, and ancient and medieval history. His teenage essays and letters comment on, among many others, the merits of Goethe, Kant, Hegel, Spinoza, and Schopenhauer. They analyze in depth the societies of the Renaissance and ancient Rome. They also demonstrate, as the eldest child, an abiding affection for his many ...