Who is Max Weber?June 26, 2021
Max Weber was a German philosopher, sociologist and political economist who lived from 21 April 1864 to 14 June 1920.
Weber is considered to be the father of the modern antipositivistic study of sociology. Weber is the person who brought sociology to methodological maturity.
Weber is also known for his research in the field of political sociology and sociology of education. He replaced the class-based analyzes of Marx with the concept of status. He is known for his work on bureaucracy. Weber was born in Erfurt, Germany. He is the eldest of Sir Max Weber’s seven children. His father was a prominent liberal politician, and his mother, Helene Fallenstein, was a moderate protestant. Sir Weber was a figure in politics and this reflected in his family life, many prominent intellectuals and politicians were entertained in the Weber’s hall.
It was in such an intellectual environment that the young Weber and his brother Alfred, later a sociologist and economist, grew up. In 1876, when Max was only 12 years old, he penned two historical texts as a Christmas present for his family: “On German History, with Special References to the Emperor and Pope” and “From Constantine to the Migration of Peoples to the Roman Empire”. When he was 14, he wrote letters referring to Homer, Virgil, Cicero and Livy, and he knew Goethe, Spinoza, Kant and Schopenhauer extensively before he entered the university. It was clear that Weber would want to specialize in the social sciences at university age.
He entered Heidelberg University in 1882 as a law student. Along with his law courses, he also attended courses in economics, medieval history and theology. At intervals he served in the German army in Strasbourg. In the autumn of 1884, he entered his father’s house to study at the University of Berlin. For the next 8 years, he left home for only one semester at the University of Göttingen and for short-term military service. While at his father’s home, he became a trainee lawyer and eventually entered the University of Berlin as an associate professor. He passed the exam of the professional association. He continued to take history lessons throughout the 1880s. He gave his doctorate thesis titled “History of Medieval Business Organizations” in 1889. Two years later, he completed his article “Roman Agricultural History and the Importance of Roman Agricultural History in Private and Public Law”. There was no obstacle for Weber to become a professor.
After his doctoral thesis, Weber’s interest shifted to the social politics of his time. He joined the “Verein für Sozialpolitik” in 1888. This union was a new professional organization founded by German economists affiliated with the historical school. There, he showed that many of the social problems could be solved by economics, and he prioritized using statistical methods in solving economic problems. His interest in politics continued and he joined the left-wing Protestant Social Congress. 1890, The “Verein” Polish Question opened a research program known as “Ostflucht” on the entry of foreign farmers into East Germany and the emigration of domestic farmers to rapidly industrializing German cities. Weber, who conducted part of this research, also wrote the final report of the research. This concluding report was lauded as an excellent empirical study and cemented Weber’s expertise in agricultural economics.
In 1893, he married his cousin and future feminist writer, Marianne Schnitger. Schnitger is the person who, after Weber’s death, collected his newspaper articles and put them into a book. The couple went to Freiburg in 1894, after Weber was appointed Professor of Economics at the University of Freiburg. Two years later, he was appointed to the University of Heidelberg with the same post. A year later, two months after they had a bitter conflict with his son, father Weber passed away. After this event, Weber increasingly fell into trouble sleeping and irritability. This made it difficult for Weber to maintain his professorship. This caused him to teach fewer lectures, and he gave his last lecture in 1889. In 1900 he and his wife went to Italy and did not return to Heidelberg until 1902.
After his immense productivity in the 1890s, he did not write a single page from 1898 to late 1902, eventually resigning from the professorship in 1903. Released from this responsibility, he accepted the offer of co-editor from “Archives for Social Science and Social Welfare” along with his colleagues Edgar Jaffe and Werner Sombart. In 1904 he began to publish some of his articles in this journal, the most notable and famous of which is “The Spirit of Capitalism and the Protestant Ethic” (Die protestantische Ethik und der Geist des Kapitalismus). This work formed the basis for later considerations of basing economic systems on culture and religion.
This work is the only one that was published as a book while he was alive. Also that year, he went to the USA and was included in the World’s Fair (Louisiana Purchase Exposition) at the Congress of Arts and Sciences. Despite these achievements, Weber felt that he could not continue teaching, only giving private lessons, and making a living partly in this way, largely from the inheritance he inherited from 1907. In 1912, Weber united the social democrats and liberals.