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Max Weber in America$
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Lawrence A. Scaff

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780691147796

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691147796.001.0001

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The Invention of the Theory

The Invention of the Theory

(p.229) Thirteen The Invention of the Theory
Max Weber in America

Lawrence A. Scaff

Princeton University Press

This chapter examines how Max Weber's work has been recast as canonical for the social sciences and central to its current agendas. It first considers the substantial body of translations that became the basis for the postwar permeation of Weber's work into the social sciences, and especially into the subfield specializations of sociology, including Talcott Parsons' The Protestant Ethic and the “Spirit” of Capitalism, before discussing the role played by the interwar émigrés in the struggle over the mastery of Weber. It then explains how Weber achieved an intellectual synthesis through a combination of structural and institutional analysis, notions of rationality, propositions about social action, awareness of cultural particularities, and a deep appreciation for historical inquiry and evidence. It also analyzes the expansion of the horizon for Weber's ideas beyond the boundaries of sociology to the Western philosophical and political tradition.

Keywords:   sociology, Max Weber, social sciences, translation, Talcott Parsons, capitalism, émigrés, rationality, social action, historical inquiry

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