Max Weber's Comparative-Historical Sociology

Max Weber's Comparative-Historical Sociology : An Interpretation and Critique

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In this accessible and engaging work, Kalberg shows how Webera s work casts a direct light upon issues of pressing importance for comparative--historical research today addressing in a forceful way the whole range of problems and dilemmas confronted by the comparative--historical enterprise.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 236 pages
  • 152 x 229 x 13mm | 352g
  • Polity Press
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • English
  • black & white illustrations
  • 0745612377
  • 9780745612379
  • 1,564,713

Back cover copy

The revival of comparative and historical sociology in recent decades has largely neglected the contributions of Max Weber. Yet his work offers a powerful resource for this field. Kalberg rejects the view that Weber's historical writings consist only of an ambiguous mixture of fragmented ideal types on the one hand and the charting of vast processes of rationalization and bureaucratization on the other. On the contrary, Weber's substantive work provides coherent and distinctive guidelines for comparative-historical analysis. A systematization and reconstruction of his comparative-historical sociology, Kalberg argues, uncovers a sophisticated approach which addresses agency and structure, multiple causation and model-building.

Kalberg shows how Weber's work casts a direct light upon issues of pressing importance for comparative-historical research today; it addresses in a forceful way the whole range of problems and dilemmas confronted by the comparative-historical enterprise. Once the full analytic and empirical power of Weber's substantive writings is made clear, they can be seen to generate procedures and strategies appropriate to the study of present day as well as past social processes.

Written in an accessible and engaging fashion, this book will appeal to students and professionals in the areas of sociology, anthropology and comparative history.
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About Stephen Kalberg

Stephen Kalberg is Assistant Professor of Sociology at Boston University. He has published widely on Max Weber and German and American political and economic cultures.
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Review quote

a With this work, Stephen Kalberg confirms his place in the first rank of Weber scholars today ... Kalberg makes a powerful argument that Webera s multi--causal analysis is still at the head of the pack.a Professor Randall Collins a ... A significant and scholarly contribution to the recent renaissance of interest in Weberian sociology ... which is set within the context of macro--civilisational analysis ... Kalberga s book can be recommended as a major contribution to contemporary interpretations of Webera s contribution to historical sociology. It fills an obvious gap in the literature on Weberian sociology.a The Sociological Review a ... This is in many ways a pathbreaking work.a T. Mulhall, London School of Economics
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Table of contents

Introduction. Part I: Foundational Strategies and Procedures. 1. The Agency--Structure Linkage: The Pluralism of Motives and Webera s Structuralism. 2. Webera s Multicausality. Part II: The Causal Sociology: Procedures and Strategies. 3. The Level of Analysis: The Ideal Type. 4. Ideal Types as Hypothesis--Forming Models: Economy and Society. 5. The Mode of Causal Analysis Reconstructed: Causal Methodology and Theoretical Framework. Part III: Conclusion. References.
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