An Analysis of Max Weber's The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism: 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

An Analysis of Max Weber's The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism

1st Edition

By Sebastian Guzman, James Hill

Macat Library

91 pages

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The German sociologist Max Weber is considered to be one of the founding fathers of sociology, and ranks among the most influential writers of the 20th-century. His most famous book, The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism, is a masterpiece of sociological analysis whose power is based on the construction of a rigorous, and intricately interlinked, piece of argumentation.

Weber’s object was to examine the relationship between the development of capitalism and the different religious ideologies of Europe. While many other scholars focused on the material and instrumental causes of capitalism’s emergence, Weber sought to demonstrate that different religious beliefs in fact played a significant role. In order to do this, he employed his analytical skills to understand the relationship between capitalism and religious ideology, carefully considering how far Protestant and secular capitalist ethics overlapped, and to what extent they mirrored each other.

One crucial element of Weber’s work was his consideration the degree to which cultural values acted as implicit or hidden reasons reinforcing capitalist ethics and behavior – an investigation that he based on teasing out the ‘arguments’ that underpin capitalism. Incisive and insightful, Weber’s analysis continues to resonate with scholars today.

Table of Contents

Ways in to the Text

Who was Weber?

What does The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism Say?

Why does The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism Matter?

Section 1: Influences

Module 1: The Author and the Historical Context

Module 2: Academic Context

Module 3: The Problem

Module 4: The Author's Contribution

Section 2: Ideas

Module 5: Main Ideas

Module 6: Secondary Ideas

Module 7: Achievement

Module 8: Place in the Author's Work

Section 3: Impact

Module 9: The First Responses

Module 10: The Evolving Debate

Module 11: Impact and Influence Today

Module 12: Where Next?

Glossary of Terms

People Mentioned in the Text

Works Cited

About the Authors

Sebastian Guzman undertook his PhD research in sociology at the New School for Social Research in New York. He currently teaches at the Universidad Andrès Bello, Chile.

About the Series

The Macat Library

Great Works for Critical Thinking

Making the ideas of the world’s great thinkers accessible, affordable, and comprehensible to everybody, everywhere. 

With a growing list of over 180 titles across a broad range of subject areas, Macat works with leading academics from the world’s top universities to produce new analyses that focus on the ideas and the impact of the most influential works ever written. By setting them in context – and looking at the influences that shaped their authors, as well as the responses they provoked – Macat encourages readers to look at these classics and game-changers with fresh eyes.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Economics / General