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Economy and Society: An Outline of Interpretive Sociology (2 volume set) Paperback – December 19, 1978


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 1469 pages
  • Publisher: University of California Press; New Ed edition (December 19, 1978)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0520035003
  • ISBN-13: 978-0520035003
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 6 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #287,904 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

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Text: English, German (translation) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

75 of 81 people found the following review helpful By Hans Bakker on December 7, 1999
Format: Paperback
Weber's Economy and Society was the number one pick by sociologists at the World Congress of Sociology. Twenty percent chose the book as one of the top ten. No other book had as high a percentage of admirers. Many key concepts come from this encyclopedic work: Modern Capitalism, modern bureaucracy, charismatic authority, and goal-rational social action. The overall thesis of this complex magnum opus concerns the de-mystification and rationalization of our world, the famous iron cage thesis. One neglected aspect is Weber's ideal type model of patrimonial prebendal traditional authority and its oscillation with feudal authority. Feudalism promoted capitalism and capitalism has a tendency to become an iron cage of instrumental rationality. The main difficulty with the book is the casuistic writing style; it is not a book to sit down and read, but more like a reference work. Before accepting trendy PoMo discourses take a good look at this in depth examination of one key aspect of globalization. (This two volume set supplants previous partial translations of portions of the book, e.g. Parsons' translation of one part, and the editing work is in the highest scholarly tradition.) Everyone interested in social science should study this book! It is an exemplar for comparative historical analysis in sociology (CHS) that is neither naively Positivistic nor dogmatically Marxist.
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Richard Swedberg on May 6, 2005
Format: Paperback
This is an uncommly brilliant work in social theory and sociology. Moreover, economic sociology was founded through "Economy and Society", especially its second chapter ("Sociological Categories of Economic Action") which is the size of a small book (approx. 200 pages).

The general theoretical approach of Weber can be characterized as one of "interpretive economic sociology", that is, as a type of economic sociology in which the concept of "meaning" is at the very center of the explanatory exercise.

Social action (to follow Ch. 1) is defined as a type of behavior to which meaning is attached ("action"), and which is oriented to the behavior of others ("social"). Economic sociology consequently deals with "economic social action".

"Economy and Society" was part of a larger work entitled "Handbook of Social Economics", which included volumess on "Economy and Nature", "Economy and Technology" - and "Economy and Society". In his work Weber explores such topics as "economy and law", "economy and religion", "economy and politics", and much more.

The work "Economy and Society", finally, is a bric-a-brac. Weber himself only sent 4 chs to the printer (=Chs 1-4). The rest of the 2 volumes consists of manuscripts that his wife and economist Melchior Palyi put together, pretty much as they saw fit. Caution is consequently necessary when reading "Economy and Society"; and this work should not be treated as "a book" by Weber.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By A Reader on April 18, 2000
Format: Paperback
Central to the development of sociology. For readers interested in the great sociologists of the 19th century, Marx, Durkheim, and Weber, this is a key read. Start with THE PROTESTANT ETHIC by Weber, but ECONOMY AND SOCIETY is a rich and brilliant elaboration of Weber's central themes.
It's dry, but it's great thinking, and very important.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Raymond Lo on October 9, 2003
Format: Paperback
It seems that many people comment this book with the difficulty to read and the bad organization. However, I want to suggest that after read Schluchter's 'The Rise of Western Rationalism', you will know more about why Weber's writings are in this style. Simply speaking, it links to Weber's view of History, and if he want to elaborate the history in a approiate way, not a simple linear evolutionary way, he had to demonstrate the whole picture--or in Schluchter's word, 'basic configuration'--of history. History, in this case the rise of Rationalism, is not compose solely by few influential events, but also related to the others. Those 'significant historical events' are only the consequence of the competition between ideas and historical events, therefore, Weber wanted to explain why the configuration favour the rise of western rationalism, so he must concern all elements constitute the history. That is, Weber showed us the conditions and the process of competition within or among the many spheres, I think that is why Weber had to use this seems fragmented writing style.
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13 of 18 people found the following review helpful By "bigbruther" on March 29, 2004
Format: Paperback
I expect this comment is going to be useful, if at all, only to first year graduate students, so it'll be understandable if it's not rated very highly.... Anyway, just a quick note on Mr. Jack White's comment of April 11, 2000. One thing that Max Weber's Economy and Society is NOT, is a foundational text for structural-functionalism. That honor would probably go to Emile Durkheim's The Division of Labor in Society-- to be followed oh-so many years later by seminal works of Americans Talcott Parsons and Robert K. Merton. I'm not sure what Mr. White was thinking, but I'm pretty sure it wasn't about classical sociological theory.
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By The Black Daria on February 8, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Good for class... great bargain and shipped quickly. I especially appreciate the service of the vendor ane highly reccomend them
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15 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Jack A. White on April 11, 2000
Format: Paperback
What can I say of this work that has not already been said. This is the core of Structural Functionalism. It is presented as an argument against Karl Marx's Capital and his 1844 Manuscripts. Weber argues that the economic sphere is not the only factor in determining social structure. While Marx divides society into owners and workers, Weber presents society as composed of several layers of classes and status groups.
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