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The Theory Of Social And Economic Organization Reprint Edition

3.0 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0684836409
ISBN-10: 0684836408
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Max Weber (1864-1920) was one of the founders of contemporary social science and arguably the greatest influence on the evolution of sociology--its theory and historical linkages. His work focused on the areas of the history and theology of religion, political systems, and organizational theory and behavior. He studied at the University of Heidelberg followed by the University of Berlin. After completing his advanced studies, he became professor of economics first at Freiburg University and then at the University of Heidelberg.

Talcott Parsons (1902-1979) was one of most influential and controversial theorists of twentieth-century sociology. He served on the faculty of Harvard University for forty-five years. He developed the concept of action theory, which was based on voluntarism and analytical realism. He is also responsible for introducing Max Weber's work to America. Some of his many works include The Structure of Social Action, The System of Modern Societies, and Politics and Social Structure. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Free Press; Reprint edition (July 1, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0684836408
  • ISBN-13: 978-0684836409
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.4 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #487,585 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition
This is a notoriously bad translation of Weber. Talcott Parsons and company purged any sense of power as Herrschaft from Weber and rendered it as 'imperative coordination' rather than 'domination'. In Parsons, power becomes a 'resource' that wealthy and powerful people need to fulfill their important functional responsibilities not a tool of domination. Better to read the full text of Economy and Society, long since available in a complete and better translation.
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Format: Paperback
This is a useful book; in fact, I would consider it a must-read for anyone interested in the humanities and social sciences. With this type of book, you admittedly must have the patience of a camel to get through it; but it is worth it in the end. One of the things I tend to know about myself is that I have a pre-occupied mind; the amount of questions I have far outweigh the number of answers I have. Max Weber answers many of these questions, although at an abstract level. In fact, this is a book through which can 'theorize' oneself and become able to grapple with abstract thought. Talcott Parsons wrote the translation of the book; one has to wonder the degree to which his training and interests influenced his translation of the book. For instance, the book is only Part 1 of a larger project Max Weber wrote in German. If I am not mistaken, there is another copy of the work translated by a Marxist; I believe this translation also includes Part 2.

In short, one must read this book, no matter what your political or ideological background is.
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Format: Paperback
Weber is mentioned so often in subsequent texts that it become necessary to read his work just to be in the loop. In that regard, one should read his book.

That said, the early chapters were for me better than some of the latter. The ideas he posits on traditional vs. routine or bureaucratic organization are truly revolutionary. His descriptions of the inherent conflicts arising from the social structure are really insightful. The manner in which he lays out the importance of funding to the organization and the various classifications by which an organization can attempt to obtain that funding is really well conceptualized.

However, those that agree with Popper or have more modern beliefs about the manner in which economic systems are organized may find his discussion of money to be out-dated. His point of view predated the advancement seen in debt issuance innovation and therefore misses it. (How ironically Popper-ian to miss the way that Weber does!)

Moreover, he is writing during the initial period of charismatic leaders. This period has "played-out". His work is still interesting, but so much has been learned that has greater pertinence and specificity for those particularly interested in the politics of charismatic leaders.

That said, Weber's work is a turning point within academic thought and should be read.
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