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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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Interpretation of the Experience

Interpretation of the Experience

(p.181) Ten Interpretation of the Experience
Max Weber in America

Lawrence A. Scaff

Princeton University Press

This chapter examines the results of Max Weber's American journey, particularly in terms of its impact on his work. It begins with a discussion of the popular discourse about America in German-speaking Europe, focusing on two views of which Weber was aware. On the one side were the inspiring romanticism and adventurous spirit of Karl May's depictions of the American frontier, and on the other side was the cultural criticism as expressed in Ferdinand Kürnberger's novella Der Amerika-Müde. The chapter then considers how the American experience influenced Weber's thinking in The Protestant Ethic and the “Spirit” of Capitalism, with particular emphasis on his ruminations on the “Europeanization” of American life and the “Americanization” of European institutions. It also explores Weber's appropriation of American institutions and social practices in his work.

Keywords:   romanticism, Max Weber, America, Europe, American frontier, cultural criticism, Ferdinand Kürnberger, capitalism, Europeanization, Americanization

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