Max weber's theoretical perspective?

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2010-09-18 15:58:01

His perspective is often called interpretive sociology.

One of his basic claims was that complex social action (like a

social movement or large-scale historical change) could be

understood in terms that make sense to an individual


This is not the same as claiming that all social action is just

the sum of individual actions; only that it is

understandable or can be interpreted more adequately

if the individual's perspective is taken into account.

This is also different from saying that the individual knows the

"truth" about the social circumstances. Weber realized that

individuals (including the sociologist) are embedded in their

particular cultures and social groups and did not necessarily think

about the ultimate conditions that make the movement possible. This

is one reason Weber preferred to use a comparative method of

surveying many cultures and historical periods to attempt to

describe the full range of variation and complex causal

circumstances possible rather than rely on simplistic theories like

crude historical materialism, which had a universal explanation

covering every time and place. With comparisons Weber attempted to

show what social and cultural conditions contributed to particular

kinds of change, especially the emergence of modern capitalism.

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