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Comment: The book was reviewed by hand and the following discrepancies were found small coffe spots , however, i may have missed some marks creases or dings.
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Economy and Society: An Outline of Interpretive Sociology (2 volume set) Paperback – December 19, 1978

4.0 out of 5 stars 15 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Language Notes

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

About the Author

Starting out as a professor of law and economics at a young age in Imperial Germany, Max Weber (1864-1920) had a brilliant career interrupted by illness, which ultimately freed him from academic constraints to create the great interdisciplinary body of work for which he is famous today. Transcending the German contemporary context, his writings have become, through a series of transatlantic transmissions, one of the foundation stones of American and international social science and indispensible reading in several disciplines. Central aspects of his oeuvre, foremost Economy and Society, remain of continued importance in the age of globalization and its counter-movements.

Guenther Roth, born in Germany in 1931, began his American career in 1953, dealing extensively with Max Weber’s scholarly and political writings in their contemporary context and their impact on American social science. Since his retirement from Columbia University in 1997, he has written about Weber’s cosmopolitan family history and the tensions in his life between scholarship, politics and personal relations.

Claus Wittich, born in Germany in 1932, was for many years a specialist for eastern European economies at US universities, then the United Nations in New York and Geneva. His recent work focuses on academic links between Germany and Russia from the 18th to the 20th century.
--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
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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: 9.7 x 6.5 x 4.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.5 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #614,635 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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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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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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Format: Paperback
The complete *Economy and Society* has been around a long time in this English version, but before that it was a long time coming: excerpts by Talcott Parsons were published as *The Theory of Social and Economic Organization*, which you can still buy, and that Parsons would call one of his own books *Economy and Society* indicates postwar sociologists were perhaps expecting this to never appear. Writing in the chaos at the end of Wilhelmine Germany and the beginning of the Weimar Republic, Weber tried to take the insights he had scattered in his historical-sociological writings and expound them very, very systematically in an "introductory" textbook. This massive two-volume set is based on what he did accomplish along those lines by the time of his death in 1920. The level of abstraction is fearsome, but in contradistinction to later social theory (which considered itself all the more successful the more "counterintuitive" its proposals were) Weber's *verstehende* or "interpretive" sociology studies rationality as it is patently apparent at the levels of the individual, group or "concern", and nation. If you are even moderately reflective about your life in the contemporary world, no matter where, Weber's typologies of action and organizational structure will seem like sharper delineations of your common-sensical picture of life.

At a time when the October Revolution had exploded in the European consciousness, Weber was intent on damping-down criticism of the "irrationality" of modern society and enthusiasm for Utopian experiments.
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