Max Weber (1864-1920) Weber was born in Erfurt in Thuringia, Germany on April 21, 1864 He was the oldest of seven children. In college Weber studied law, economics, medieval history, and theology. In 1893 he married his distant cousin Marianne Schnitger, who later became a feminist and author. Along with Marx and Durkheim he is regarded as one of the founders of modern sociology. On June 14, 1920 he died of pneumonia.
Influence of Max Weber Famous Works: • The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism 1905 • Economy and Society, 1914 • The Sociology of Religion, 1920 • The Methodology of the Social Sciences, 1949 Legacy of Weber: • Weber worked in the antipositivist tradition which believed the social sciences needed different methods than the methods of the natural sciences because of social action. • Weber made large contributions to the fields of the sociology of religion and the sociology of government • Weber concentrated on the relationship between social stratification and religion.
The Distribution of Power within the Political Community: Class, Status, Party (1914) Economically Determined Power • Power = chance of man or group to realize their own will in a social action even against the resistance of others • Economically conditioned power not exactly the same as “power” • Power itself has its own value
Social Honor • Often, quest for power is conditioned by the social honor of it • “Naked” economic power not necessarily basis of social honor • Social honor is often basis of economic power • Power & honor can be guaranteed by the legal order, but not always
Status Order • Way that social honor is distributed in a community amongst groups • Economic order merely decides who gets what resources • Status and economic orders react to each other
Class Situation • Represent possible bases for social action • We define class as: • # of people have a common causal component of their life chances • This component made up only of economic interests in the possession of goods and opportunities for income • Is represented in the actual market situation • Class situation = market situation
Class Distinction and Property • Plurality of people meeting competitively in marketplace specific life chances • Monopolizes power in hands of wealthy, property-owners • Property vs. lack of property basic categories of all class situations • Different kinds of property • On a continuum
Beginning of Class Struggle • Crop-raising communities: fate of individual determined by their labor • Now: fate determined by possession • Creditor-debtor relationship established
Class Interest & Social Action • Direction of class interest affected by presence/amount of social action among those is the same class • Trade union • Individual can expect more promising results • Can be simply aggregate behavior of individuals (grumbling of workers) • Degree of social action and association related to transparency of causes and consequences of the class situation • Contrast of life chances seen as not given fact, but result of distribution of property and/or structure of economic order
Class Struggle • Caused not by members of the same class, but social action among members of different classes • Social actions that directly determine the class situation of worker & entrepreneur: • Labor market • Commodities market • Capitalistic enterprise • Class struggles have shifted from: • Consumption credit • Competitive struggles in the commodity market • Wage disputes in the labor market
Status Honor • Property not always recognized as a status qualification • Both propertied & propertyless people can belong to same status group • A specific style of life is expected from all in the circle • Encourages strict submission to the dominant fashion of that society • Families can appropriate status honor • First Families of Virginia • Legal privilege eventually develops after years of certain set social order and stratification
Ethnic Segregation & Caste • From social order to legal privilege status group becomes a caste • Status groups upheld by social conventions, laws, and now religion • Usually only occurs when status group differences are held to be “ethnic” • Castes differ from mere ethnic segregation • Castes segregate groups into a vertical social system of super/subordination • Segregated (but coexisting) ethnic groups each considers own honor to be highest; mutual repulsion & disdain • Ex: Jews
Status Privileges • Stratification by status goes hand-in-hand with a monopolization of ideal and material goods or opportunities • Special costumes, exotic dishes, carrying special arms • Strong motive for exclusiveness of group • Increased closure of status group (intermarriage) • Monopolization of preferential employment becomes legal • Stigma of performing physical labor; artistic/literary activity for income (if there’s hard physical exertion)
Economic Conditions and Status Stratification • The market knows nothing of honor • Status order is threatened when naked economic power (even w/extra-status stigma) could bring an individual up the honor level of high status group • When market is stable, stratification by status is favored • Technological change and economic transformation threatens status stratification
Parties • Classes belong in the economic sphere • Status groups belong in the social order sphere (distribution of honor) • Parties belong in the sphere of power • Struggle for acquisition of social control • Always involves association • Need not be purely class nor purely status parties; can be mixed types • Sociological structure of parties differs according • To whether community is stratified by status or class • To the structure of domination
Discussion • Today, which comes first: the social honor or the economic power? (America vs. other countries) • Does Weber’s conception of the purely economic-based class situation align with or stray from your conception of class in America • Is the more to it than pure income/wealth?
Discussion cont. • Would you say the causes and consequences of the class situation in the US are transparent? • How has that (not) motivated social action • Who is in the high status group today? What privileges do they receive? • In America? • In the world?
Discussion cont. • Weber says during times of economic/technological change, naked class situation is predominantly important: • Examples in history? • When change slows, the importance of social honor increases • Examples in history?
Discussion cont. • Weber sets the economic, social, and (political) power sphere as separate entities • Are they really mutually exclusive? • How do they overlap? • Where do parties in the US recruit their members from? • Class situations? • Status situations? • Both?
The Types of Legitimate Domination (1914) – Max Weber • Every form of/ case of domination implies an ‘interest in obedience’ and/or will to comply • People under rule are bound to obey their superior as a result of affectual ties, by a purely material complex of interests, or by ideal motives- whichever of these that is used will determine the type of domination
3 types of legitimate domination: • Rational grounds- resting on a belief in the legality of enacted rules and the right of those elevated to authority under such rules to issue commands (legal authority) • Traditional grounds- resting on sanctity of immemorial traditions and those exercising authority under them (traditional authority) • Charismatic grounds- resting on devotion to the exceptional sanctity, heroism, or exemplary character of an individual person, and of the normative patterns or order revealed or ordained by him (charismatic authority) -- obeyed by personal trust in his revelation or exemplary characteristics/ qualities so far as they fall within the scope of the individual’s belief in his charisma…
Legal Authority with a Bureaucratic Administrative Staff • Acceptance of legal norms (which are established by imposition or value-rational) that members of the body or organization pledge obedience to • Administrative law is implemented in the rational pursuit of the interest specified in the order governing the organization that is either approved by the members or not disapproved by them • Superior or person in charge is subject to the rules himself • As a ‘member’, authority is obeyed ‘only as law’! • As a member, you pledge obedience not to the individual but to the office held by said person
Legal Authority with a Bureaucratic Administrative Staffcont. Chief employs a bureaucratic system of rule; he himself is in office either by *election, *appropriation, or *succession. The officer under him must: • be impersonal to official obligations • be organized • each office has a clear designed sphere (or job description) • office is filled by free selection • candidates are selected according to qualifications; they are appointed • set salary; official is free to resign but only under specific circumstances is he terminated • the office is treated as the primary office by the officer • it constitutes a career; meaning a system of promotion according to reward • official works separate from means of ownership of the means of administration (has no say over who gets hired out of loyalty) • he is under strict scrutiny and conduct regulation by the people
Traditional Authority • occurs when legitimacy is believed with regard to age-old rulers and powers • this is based on a system of loyalty from individual upbringing • personal loyalty determines officers of administrative staff • Weber describes the system as one where members pledge loyalty to the individuals and not to the office; legitimized by: • the content of office is determined by tradition and cannot overstep that of the superior ‘master’ • legitimized in terms of the master’s discretion in the sphere tradition leaves open to him; obedience to this office tends to be unlimited
Traditional Authority cont. • because of the superior’s role, a double sphere is created where the superior is allowed: 1. that of action to be specific traditions 2. that of action which is free of specific rules (i.e. the master is free to act on the basis of personal likes and pleasures- gifts) • these are not formal principles* • they usually test how far the master can go, or to what lengths the master can ‘act’ as not to arouse resistance among members; • when there is resistance, it is directed against the superior and not the system (bureaucracy) • legislation that passes laws is only valid when it is a traditional document (historical)
Traditional Authority cont. What’s missing? : 1. a clearly defined office position 2. a rational hierarchy 3. a system of appointment on the basis of free contract, and orderly promotion 4. technical training as a requirement 5. fixed salaries
Charismatic Authority This is filled by an officer with charisma; not just any individual can fill this role; regarded as divine origin or exemplary status I. determined by how the leader’s followers or disciples view him; charisma is not the basis on the claim to legitimacy for this type of leadership, but rather its up to the followers to determine legitimacy or the genuineness of the leader- resulting in a complete personal devotion to the possessor of the quality (from either enthusiasm or hope/despair) II. if his charisma, leadership, or ‘magical’ powers appear to have disappeared, then his charismatic authority will also be gone.
Charismatic Authority cont. III. Charismatic community (the organization of the leader’s followers) is: • based on an emotional form of communal worship; administrative officers are not chosen by either loyalty or election (bureaucracy) but is determined by charisma (i.e. a prophet has his disciples; and a warlord has his bodyguard) • there is no such thing as an appointment or dismissal, no career, no promotion, no hierarchy; but that most every responsibility for regulating his administration is left up to the “superior”; there is no salary or benefice
Charismatic Authority cont. IV. this charisma is foreign/ independent of economic situations/markets- even though in some cases these leaders require material possessions from their subjects V. because charisma can be born from suffering, conflicts, or enthusiasm, it can bring about radical change in central attitudes and direction of action toward different problems in the world
Routinization of Charisma • charismatic leadership tends to either become traditionalized or rationalized because it is unstable; Weber calls it a transitory phenomenon • he says: a. the people’s desires for that of material goods fluctuates; b. the same desires of the administration fluctuate; it is almost impossible for a mistake to enjoy the same worldly accesses because he is cut off from such a social position and it is replaced with a discipleship cut off from worldly connections * he says Routinization of charisma (its downfall) takes the form of the appropriation of powers and of economic advantages by the followers or disciples; as a result, Weber says this randomization comes to be defined as the charismatic organization being turned into an everyday institution and putting it on the political level as having it be ruled by a ‘divine right’.
Discussion Questions: • Out of all the three types of rational government Weber describes, which do you feel is most effective? Which do you feel is the most organized? Which do you feel keeps people the happiest? • Is there a position that exists in the United States that can be classified under all 3 of these types of authority?
Discussion Questions cont. • Name that Leadership! - Which type comes to mind… • President of the United States • Pastor • Point guard of the Duke Basketball team • A group’s rights activist (i.e. racial minority’s, women’s, animal’s) • Beyonce’ • Police officer
Discussion Questions cont. • Weber says that “there is no such thing as an appointment or dismissal, no career, no promotion, no hierarchy; but that most every responsibility for regulating his administration is left up to the “superior”; there is no salary or benefice…”. Do you agree? • Which do you think is the most effective form of leadership to utilize to make social and/or political change? The same form of leadership or a different one for each category?
Bureaucracy (1922) Characteristics of Modern Democracy 1. Principal of Official jurisdiction ordered by rules: • Activities required for bureaucracy are assigned by official duties • The authority to command these duties is distributed in a stable was decided by rules • These duties and associated rights are set up to always be completed. Only qualified persons are employed. When these exist in a state it makes a bureaucratic agency. In a private economy a bureaucratic enterprise. For the state bureaucracy is only fully developed in the modern state. In a bureaucratic enterprise it is only fully developed in a private economy.
Characteristics of Modern Democracycont. 2. Principles of office hierarchy require established system of super and subordination. 3. Management of an office is based on written documents. Official duty is separated from the private life of the official. 4. Specialized office management usually comes about through specialized training.
Characteristics of Modern Democracycont. 5. In a fully developed office activity demands the full working capacity of official independent of the amount of working hours. 6. Management follows rules which are mostly stable, exhaustive and able to be learned. One part of the special technical expertise of the official is knowledge of these rules. Reduction of office management to rules is at the base of the nature of a bureaucracy.
The Position of the Official Within and Outside of Bureaucracy. • Office holding as a vocation • Shown through requirement of training • Demands entire working capacity • Office holding considered acceptance of duty not ownership of an income source • Does not establish relationship to a person but to an impersonal and functional purpose
The Position of the Official Within and Outside of Bureaucracy. Cont. II. Social Position of Official a. Social esteem and convention. The official usually seeks and attains an elevated esteem which is protected by the position of rank b. Appointment vs. Election. Election is not strictly bureaucratic. Appointed officials function more accurately because functional points determine the official’s career. Election endangers expert qualification and functioning of a bureaucracy.
The Position of the Official Within and Outside of Bureaucracy. Cont. c. Tenure and Inverse Relationship Between Judicial Independence and Social Prestige. Tenure separates the official from the worker. Also guarantees strictly impersonal discharge of duties. d. Rank as Basis of Regular Salary Official receives salary and pension with old age. This along with social esteem makes position highly sought after. e. Fixed Career Lines and Status Rigidity Promotion and salary levels determined by fixed measures of seniority or examination grades.
The Technical Superiority of Bureaucratic Organization over Administration by Notables • Bureaucratic administrations are superior to all others in precision, speed, ambiguity, knowledge of files, continuity, discretion, unity, strict subordination, reduction of friction of material and personal costs. • Positions are assigned by training and expertise • A fully developed bureaucracy levels status and takes emotion and favoritism out of business.
The Leveling of Social Differences a. Administrative democratization Bureaucracy accompanies mass democracy which results from abstract regularity of exercise of authority which results from a demand for equality before the law. b. Mass parties and the bureaucratic consequences of democratization • Mass democratic parties are increasingly being organized bureaucratically rather than by personal relationships • Political concept of democracy includes the prevention of a closed status group of officials so that there is universal access. • There is also a minimization of authority which creates a conflict between bureaucracy and democracy.
The Objective and Subjective Bases of Bureaucratic Perpetuity • Once established bureaucracies are very hard to destroy • They transform social action into rationally organized action which is superior to every kind of collective behavior or social action • The “Professional bureaucrat is chained to his activity in his entire economic and ideological existence” • Those who are ruled cannot destroy it because it is based on expert training, specialization, an attitude of habit. • If the bureaucracy ends chaos will ensue. The material fate of the masses is tied to it. • Since it is based on objectivity and impersonal work it is easy to make it work for anyone who can take it over • Makes revolution more and more impossible.
Discussion Questions • Weber’s description of a Bureaucracy basically asserts that it is better than any other type of organization. Do you think this is true? Can you think of ways that it fails to meet the needs of society? • Weber’s description on the Modern Democracy and Bureaucratic organizations as very fixed and determined largely by fixed rules. Is it even possible to meet his idea of a perfect bureaucracy? If so, what room does this leave for personal creativity and innovation?
Discussion Questions cont. • Weber writes about the ways in which electing officials fails to gain the success that appointment through true bureaucratic processes does. In what ways might appointment actually be worse than election? Do you feel that election or appointment is better for society?
Presentation by Evelyn Meier, Adam Williamson, and Andrea Young • Biographical information: This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article, “Max Weber”.