Contemporary articles citing Weber M (1946) M Weber Essays Socio
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- Garcelon, Marc. 2010. "The Missing Key: Institutions, Networks, and the Project of Neoclassical Sociology." Sociological Theory. 28:3 326-353.
- The diversity of contemporary ``capitalisms'' underscores the need to supplant the amorphous concept of structure with more precise concepts, particularly institutions and networks. All institutions entail both embodied and relational aspects. Institutions are relational insofar as they map obligatory patterns of ``getting by and getting along''-institutional orders-that steer stable social fields over time. Institutions are simultaneously embodied as institutional paradigms, part of a larger bodily agency Pierre Bourdieu called habitus. Institutions are in turn tightly coupled to networks between various people based on, but not reducible to, strategic interests. Yet social interaction sometimes exceeds institutional boundaries, giving rise to disjunctive fields and underscoring the prominence of institutional failures in the unfolding of antagonistic relations such as warfare. Such disjunctive fields can be tracked in relation to some transnational networks at the global level without assuming developmental convergence. This last point underscores the meaning of neoclassical sociology, which eschews assumptions of developmental convergence at the global level.
- Adkins, Daniel & Stephen Vaisey. 2009. "Toward a Unified Stratification Theory: Structure, Genome, and Status Across Human Societies." Sociological Theory. 27:2 99-121.
- While social scientists and geneticists have a shared interest in the personal characteristics instrumental to status attainment, little has been done to integrate these disparate perspectives. This is unfortunate, as the perspectives offer complementary insights, which, if properly combined, stand to substantially improve understanding of the stratification process. This article synthesizes research from the social sciences and genetics to develop a multistage theory of how social structure moderates the influence of the genome on status outcomes. Its thesis is that the strength of the genome's influence on status is primarily moderated by two properties of social structure-levels of resource inequality and social mobility. Thus, it is theorized that under conditions of low inequality and high social mobility, the influence of the genome on status will be high relative to conditions of high inequality and low social mobility. The essential logic is (1) as inequality increases, the characteristics and abilities intrinsically useful in status attainment are increasingly influenced by individuals' social backgrounds and decreasingly determined by their genomes; and (2) as social closure and inequality increase, the utility of these characteristics and abilities to status attainment is diminished. In sum, a model of status attainment is developed proposing that while both genome and social background influence the status attainment process, the relative importance of these factors is determined by the surrounding structure of the society.
- Kurzman, Charles, Chelise Anderson, Clinton Key, Youn Lee, Mairead Moloney, Alexis Silver & Maria Van. 2007. "Celebrity Status." Sociological Theory. 25:4 347-367.
- Max Weber's fragmentary writings on social status suggest that differentiation on this basis should disappear as capitalism develops. However, many of Weber's examples of status refer to the United States, which Weber held to be the epitome of capitalist development. Weber hints at a second form of status, one generated by capitalism, which might reconcile this contradiction, and later theorists emphasize the continuing importance of status hierarchies. This article argues that such theories have missed one of the most important forms of contemporary status: celebrity. Celebrity is an omnipresent feature of contemporary society, blazing lasting impressions in the memories of all who cross its path. In keeping with Weber's conception of status, celebrity has come to dominate status ``honor,'' generate enormous economic benefits, and lay claim to certain legal privileges. Compared with other types of status, however, celebrity is status on speed. It confers honor in days, not generations; it decays over time, rather than accumulating; and it demands a constant supply of new recruits, rather than erecting barriers to entry.
- Jacobs, Ronald & Sarah Sobieraj. 2007. "Narrative and Legitimacy: Us Congressional Debates About the Nonprofit Sector." Sociological Theory. 25:1 1-25.
- This article develops a theory about the narrative foundations of public policy. Politicians draw on specific types of narratives in order to connect the policies they are proposing, the needs of the public, and their own needs for legitimacy. In particular, politicians are drawn to policy narratives in which they themselves occupy the central and heroic character position, and where they are able to protect the scope of their jurisdictional authority. We demonstrate how this works through a historical analysis of congressional debate about the nonprofit sector in the United States. Two competing narratives framed these debates: (1) a selfless charity narrative, in which politicians try to empower heroic charity workers and philanthropists, and then stay out of the way; and (2) a masquerade narrative, in which fake charities are taking advantage of the nonprofit tax exemption, in order to pursue a variety of noncivic and dangerous activities. Members of Congress quickly adopted the masquerade narrative as the dominant framework for discussing the nonprofit sector because it provided a more powerful and flexible rhetoric for reproducing their political legitimacy. By developing innovative elaborations of the masquerade narrative (i.e., identifying new categories of ``false heroes''), while remaining faithful to its underlying narrative format, politicians were able to increase the persuasive impact of their legislative agendas. We argue that the narrative aspects of political debate are a central component of the policy-making process because they link cultural and political interests in a way that involves the mastery of cultural structure as well as the creativity of cultural performance.
- Martin, JL & M George. 2006. "Theories of Sexual Stratification: Toward an Analytics of the Sexual Field and a Theory of Sexual Capital." Sociological Theory. 24:2 107-132.
- The American tradition of action theory failed to produce a useful theory of the possible existence of trans-individual consistencies in sexual desirability. Instead, most sociological theorists have relied on market metaphors to account for the logic of sexual action. Through a critical survey of sociological attempts to explain the social organization of sexual desiring, this article demonstrates that the market approach is inadequate, and that its inadequacies can be remedied by studying sexual action as occurring within a specifically sexual field (in Bourdieu's sense), with a correlative sexual capital. Such a conception allows for historical and comparative analysis of changes in the organization of sexual action that are impeded by the use of a market metaphor, and also points to difficulties in Bourdieu's own treatment of the body qua body.
- Abend, G. 2006. "Styles of Sociological Thought: Sociologies, Epistemologies, and the Mexican and Us Quests for Truth." Sociological Theory. 24:1 1-41.
- Both U.S. and Mexican sociologies allege that they are in the business of making true scientific knowledge claims about the social world. Conventional conceptions of science notwithstanding, I demonstrate that their claims to truth and scientificity are based on alternative epistemological grounds. Drawing a random sample of nonquantitative articles from four leading journals, I show that, first, they assign a different role to theories, and indeed they have dissimilar understandings of what a theory should consist of. Second, whereas U.S. sociology actively struggles against subjectivity, Mexican sociology maximizes the potentials of subjective viewpoints. Third, U.S. sociologists tend to regard highly and Mexican sociologists to eagerly disregard the principle of ethical neutrality. These consistent and systematic differences raise two theoretical issues. First, I argue that Mexican and U.S. sociologies are epistemologically, semantically, and perceptually incommensurable. I contend that this problem is crucial for sociology's interest in the social conditioning of scientific knowledge's content. Second, I suggest four lines of thought that can help us explain the epistemological differences I find. Finally, I argue that sociologists would greatly profit from studying epistemologies in the same fashion they have studied other kinds of scientific and nonscientific beliefs.
- Whipple, M. 2005. "The Dewey-lippmann Debate Today: Communication Distortions, Reflective Agency, and Participatory Democracy." Sociological Theory. 23:2 156-178.
- In this article, I introduce the Dewey-Lippmann democracy debate of the 1920s as a vehicle for considering how social theory can enhance the empirical viability of participatory democratic theory within the current context of advanced capitalism. I situate within this broad theoretical framework the theories of Habermas and Dewey. In the process, I argue (a) that while Dewey largely failed to reconcile his democratic ideal with the empirical constraint of large-scale organizations, Habermas, in particular his work on the public sphere, provides an important starting point for considering the state of public participation within the communication distortions of advanced capitalism; (b) that to fully understand the relation between communication distortions and public participation, social theorists must look beyond Habermas and return to Dewey to mobilize his bi-level view of habitual and reflective human agency; and, finally, (c) that the perspective of a Deweyan political theory of reflective agency best furthers our understanding of potential communication distortions and public participation, particularly in the empirical spaces of media centralization and intellectual property rights.
- Panayotakis, C. 2004. "A Marxist Critique of Marx's Theory of History: Beyond the Dichotomy Between Scientific and Critical Marxism." Sociological Theory. 22:1 123-139.
- This article argues that an application of Marxism to itself can help us transcend Gouldner's (1980) dichotomy between scientific and critical Marxism. After demonstrating that the paradigmatic document of scientific marxism, Marx's Preface to A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy, turns the structural logic of capitalist economy into the basis for a transhistorical theory of social-economic development, this article explores the limitations of critical Marxism's response to scientific Marxism and concludes that a viable, not class-centered, reformulation of the emancipatory project is possible through an analysis of capitalism's ``dialectic of scarcity.'' The task of the emancipatory project, it is argued, is to turn humanity, and not the working class, from a political subject in itself to a political subject in and for itself.
- Verter, B. 2003. "Spiritual Capital: Theorizing Religion With Bourdieu Against Bourdieu." Sociological Theory. 21:2 150-174.
- Bourdieu's. theory of culture offers a rich conceptual resource for the social-scientific study of religion. In particular, his analysis of cultural capital as a medium of social relations suggests an economic model of religion alternative to that championed by rational choice theorists. After evaluating Bourdieu's limited writings on religion, this paper draws upon his wider work to craft a new model of ``spiritual capital.'' Distinct from Iannaccone's and Stark and Finke's visions of ``religious capital,'' this Bourdieuian model treats religious knowledge, competencies, and preferences as Positional goods within a competitive symbolic economy. The valuation of spiritual capital is the object of continuous struggle and is subject to considerable temporal and subcultural variation. A model of spiritual capital illuminates such phenomena as religious conversion, devotional eclecticism, religious fads, and social mobility. It also suggests some necessary modifications to Bourdieu's theoretical system, particularly his understanding of individual agency, cultural production, and the relative autonomy of fields.
- Martin, JL. 1998. "Authoritative Knowledge and Heteronomy in Classical Sociological Theory." Sociological Theory. 16:2 99-130.
- This article traces the impact of philosophical questions regarding the grounds of moral autonomy and heteronomy (rule-from-another as opposed to rule-from-oneself) on classical sociological theory, arguing that both Weber and Durkheim understood sociology to have a contribution to make in the debate,with Kant over the grounds of ethical action. Both insisted that the only possible ethical action was one within the bounds of rational knowledge that was inherently authoritative, but this sat uneasily with their focus on the relation between concrete social authority and the authoritativeness of beliefs in the sociology of religion. In rejecting Comte's explicit avowal of the embodiment of moral authority in the secular priesthood of sociologist, Weber and Durkheim had to paper over the social authority supporting the formulation of this rational knowledge. Each then produced a sociology of knowledge without a well-specified mechanism, in turn encouraging the development of the sociology of knowledge as ct flawed sub-discipline.
- Dahms, HF. 1997. "Theory in Weberian Marxism: Patterns of Critical Social Theory in Lukacs and Habermas." Sociological Theory. 15:3 181-214.
- For Weberian Marxists, the social theories of Max Weber and Karl Marx are complementary, contributions to the analysis of modern capitalist society. Combining Weber's theory of rationalization with Marx's critique of commodity fetishism to develop his own critique of reification, Georg Lukacs contended that the combination of Marx's and Weber's social theories is essential to envisioning socially transformative modes of praxis in advanced capitalist society. By comparing Lukacs's theory of reification with Habermas's theory of communicative action as two theories in the tradition of Weberian Marxism, I show how the prevailing mode of ``doing theory'' has shifted from Marx's critique of economic deter terminism to Weber's idea of the inner logic of social value spheres. Today, Weberian Marxism can make an important contribution to theoretical sociology by reconstituting itself as a framework for critically examining prevailing societal definitions of the rationalization imperatives specific to purposive-rational social value spheres (the economy, the administrative state, etc.). In a second step, Weberian Marxists would explore how these value spheres relate to Each other and to value spheres that are open to the type of communicative rationalization characteristic of the lifeworld level of social organization.
- Arditi, J. 1996. "Simmel's Theory of Alienation and the Decline of the Nonrational." Sociological Theory. 14:2 93-108.
- By any standard, nonrationality is an undertheorized concept in sociology. This paper attempts to open a discussion on nonrationality by analyzing one of the most fruitful theorizations of the concept: Simmels. Simmel developed a theory that placed nonrationality on the same plane with rationality and attributed to the former a role as fundamental as the latter's in the foundations of action, and as central as the latter's in the generation of existential meanings. The gradual eclipse of the nonrational elements of life in the expanses of a modern, highly rationalized world imply, then, an impoverishment of being. I argue that Simmel's theory of the nonrational can serve as a model capable of enriching our understanding of society and of the person and can, in this sense, serve as a counterpoint to current sociological theories that emphasize the rational elements of life and conceive the person in primarily rational terms.
- Kalberg, S. 1996. "On the Neglect of Weber's Protestant Ethic as a Theoretical Treatise: Demarcating the Parameters of Postwar American Sociological Theory." Sociological Theory. 14:1 49-70.
- Although widely recognized as one of sociology's true classics, Max Weber's The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism has largely failed to influence the development of sociological theory in the United States. Because it has been read almost exclusively as a study of the ``role of ideas'' in economic development, its diverse and multifaceted theoretical contributions generally have been neglected. This study explicitly calls attention to The Protestant Ethic as a theoretical treatise by examining this classic in reference to four major debates in postwar sociological theory in the United States. Moreover, it demarcates an array of major parameters in American theorizing. The conclusion speculates upon the reasons for the strong opposition to The Protestant Ethic's theoretical lessons and argues that a style of theorizing unique to sociology in the United States has erected firm barriers against this classic text.