THE SOCIOLOGY OF MAX WEBER by Julien Freund

THE SOCIOLOGY OF MAX WEBER

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Freund begins his exposition by explaining Weber's opposition to a historical sociology in the style of Durkheim, and also to a grand synthesis in the style of Marx. He outlines Weber's concept of ""rationalization"" as the key to understanding Western civilization, and moves on to a comprehensive discussion of methodological issues, with a separate section on ""interpretation."" Freund makes much of one aspect which he seems to view as a Kantian revolution in social science: Weber's commitment to pluralistic analyses and heuristic logical constructs, instead of a futile effort to ""reproduce reality."" The special sociologies of economics, religion, politics, law and art are outlined. Freund's exposition is ideal for beginners, since he takes pains to explain the elementary: e.g. that ideal types aren't ethical goals. However, he is sometimes opaque, as on the topic of causality. Another pedagogical merit is Freund's avoidance of ""personal"" interpretation. But he might have explicated briefly his differences with Gerth and Mills, whose commentary is widely read; and he fails to justify his departure from Parsons' translation of Handeln as ""action,"" not ""behavior""...an important issue, as these things go. The study remains generally clear, interesting and valuable.

Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 1967
Publisher: Pantheon