Max Weber is widely regarded as the most important and influential figure in the history of the social sciences. Among other things, he wrote extensively on the methodology of the social sciences, but his writings on methodology are complex and are the subject of many conflicting interpretations. In this authoritative new book, Sven Eliaeson provides a comprehensive introduction to Webera s methodology and to the various ways it has been interpreted by subsequent scholars in Europe and the United States. Eliaeson shows how the vested interests of scholars have resulted in biased interpretations of Webera s work. Weber was preoccupied with the intellectual problems of his time and not with our current disciplinary crises. By placing Webera s thought and methodology in its historical context, Eliaeson is able to provide a masterly reconstruction of his central concerns while at the same time exploring the enduring relevance of Webera s work for sociology today. This book will be recognized as a definitive work on Webera s methodology and will be an indispensable text for students and scholars in sociology and the social sciences.
Sven Eliaeson is Professor in Sociology at the CEU in Warszawa
List of Abbreviations. Acknowledgements. Introduction. 1. THE CONTEXTS. German Historicism and the Controversy over Method. The Post--Enlightenment Anguish of Polytheism. Neo--Kantianism and Nominalism. 2. THE SHAPING OF WEBER'S CONCEPTUAL TOOLS. Distinguishing the Natural from the Social Sciences. Enter "Values" and the Problem of Selection and Value Intrusion. Rickert: Theoretical and Practical Value--Relation. Weber: Scientific Value--Relativism. The Limits of Social Science Concept Formation. Postscript: Evaluating Rickerta s Influence on Weber. 3. AN ANALYSIS OF WEBERa S SOLUTION. Objectivity, Selection, and Causal Significance. Rational Understanding. Webera s Anti--Psychologism. The Ideal--type. Conclusion. 4. THREE PARADIGMATIC CONCEPTIONS OF WEBER. Introduction: A Brief Outline of Webera s Reception. Talcott Parsons: Weber as a macro--sociologist. Alfred Schutz: Weber as a 'Hermeneutic'. Lazarsfeld and Oberschall: Weber as an empirical social scientist. 5. BEYOND APPROPRIATION. WEBER YESTERDAY AND TODAY. The Weber--Renaissance as Living Legacy. Selective and "Creative" Presentism. Continuing Significance: Weber as Mediator. Increasing Professionalization and Cohesiveness. The Dispute about the Centre of Gravity of Webera s Work and Methodology. Does an Overarching Interpretation Matter?. Nietzsche, The Disenchantement Thesis and Methodology. Appendix: The radical solution?: A note on Gunnar Myrdal and the Diffusion of Value--Orientation/Relation. METHODOLOGICAL APPENDIX. Recontextualizing Weber at the Crossroads. Approaching the Classics. Notes. Short Biographies. Glossary. References. Index.