Marx and Weber on Oriental Societies: In the Shadow of Western Modernity, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Marx and Weber on Oriental Societies

In the Shadow of Western Modernity, 1st Edition

By Lutfi Sunar


224 pages

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The Orient was central to the work of Marx and Weber, both figures building their theories around the question of why modernity appeared to emerge only in the West. While Marx’s account focused on the accumulation of capital in the West, Weber’s explanation for this phenomenon centred on Western rationalization. Extending recent work comparing the social theories of Marx and Weber, this book examines their approaches to Oriental societies, showing how, in spite of the differences in their respective theorizations of the historical and political development of the West, their work on the form of modern society in the Orient converges, each complementing the other. Fully conversant with recent scholarly work on Marx and Weber, this comprehensive re-examination of the points of convergence and departure in their work requires us to re-evaluate both their positions in the history of sociology and their relevance to contemporary social questions. As such, it will appeal to scholars of social and political theory and classical sociology.


’Sociology remains Orientalistic in that the knowing subjects continue to be the authors of the canonical works of Western social science such as Marx and Weber. Re-examining their writings and locating them in their proper place in the history of sociology, this is an important contribution to rescuing social theory from potential irrelevance by separating out what is sound and valuable from what is Orientalistic.’ Syed Farid Alatas, National University of Singapore, Singapore ’Lutfi Sunar reminds us of the extent to which contemporary ideas of modernity, and therefore current ideas of alternative modernities� as well, are derived from the writings of Marx and Weber. Sunar’s book suggests that we urgently need to rethink the idea of modernity itself, wherever it may have occurred. Essential reading for Marx and Weber studies, as well as for anyone concerned with the history and theory of modernity.’ Robert J. Young, New York University, USA '… the book provides a thorough examination of Orientalism within the writings of Marx and Weber. … the book also contributes to the decolonization of the discipline by forcing sociologists to re-examine widely used concepts and theories in light of their Orientalist influences.' Canadian Journal of Sociology

About the Author

Lütfi Sunar is Assistant Professor of Sociology at Istanbul University, Turkey.

About the Series

Classical and Contemporary Social Theory

Classical and Contemporary Social Theory
Classical and Contemporary Social Theory publishes rigorous scholarly work that re-discovers the relevance of social theory for contemporary times, demonstrating the enduring importance of theory for modern social issues. The series covers social theory in a broad sense, inviting contributions on both 'classical' and modern theory, thus encompassing sociology, without being confined to a single discipline. As such, work from across the social sciences is welcome, provided that volumes address the social context of particular issues, subjects, or figures and offer new understandings of social reality and the contribution of a theorist or school to our understanding of it. The series considers significant new appraisals of established thinkers or schools, comparative works or contributions that discuss a particular social issue or phenomenon in relation to the work of specific theorists or theoretical approaches. Contributions are welcome that assess broad strands of thought within certain schools or across the work of a number of thinkers, but always with an eye toward contributing to contemporary understandings of social issues and contexts.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Economics / Theory
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Sociology / General