Gesellschaft bei Max Weber (German Edition)


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Nevertheless, they may open the door to a qualification for a Stand , just like the lack of assets does not necessarily lead to disqualification for a Stand , even though it may. On the other hand the position of a Stand by itself can determine a class situation, or at least influence it, without being identical.

The class situation of an officer, a civil servant Beamte , a student, which are defined by their assets can be hugely different without changing or modifying their position within the Stand. This holds true, because the lifestyle created through upbringing will continue to adhere to all important values of the Stand. And most notably that common style of life is not sustained solely using the cash of the marketplace. Thus even in modern markets, military medals can be purchased but not legitimately worn by anyone except the recipient or an actor! University degrees, which may be qualifications for labour markets, also cannot be purchased on the open market—display of the wrong diploma implies fraud!

Within any Stand , an ideology and belief system emerge that asserts that Stand -status emerges out of honour and achievement, not economic power. This happens even as the logic of the Gesellschaft and its class-based system of stratification seek to commodify and rationalize all that it touches, irrespective of pesky value judgments rooted in honour. For Weber, status and class contrast each other even as they mix—but they mix only as oil and water do, staying separate and even repelling each other.

Separating honour from market position, as Weber does in defining Stand and class, in fact leads to fundamentally different understandings of inequality than that are typically found in modern English-language sociology. This is true in particular with respect to the consequences of privilege and subordination.

The German word Stand includes assumptions of medieval feudalism, in which social rank is determined by birth, educational qualification and assignment. Thus, negatively privileged serfs were defined by the advantages of the positively privileged aristocracy, and vice versa. In European feudalism, the most obvious Stand categories were inherited ranks, especially those of nobility, clergy and commoner. For that matter, this was also the case in the racial caste systems of the United States and South Africa where there was Jim Crow and apartheid laws, respectively, that fixed Stand position.

Such structures explain how issues of honour, privilege and pariah-hood persist even in the context of Gesellschaft -based ideologies about blind meritocracy and competence. The question for Weber though is what ideologies sustain the stratification system? This is because to sustain a Stand , a legitimated ideology explaining the past, the status quo and a future must be created. These include origin stories, stereotypes and traditions.

Positively privileged groups justify their own power, advantage and privilege ideologically. An example of how such stereotypes were used to further policy goals is that of Texas farmers in the s who sought cheap Bracero labour from Mexico. Fortunately, the growers convinced themselves and Congress that cheap Mexican labourers were uniquely well-suited to the task demanded, and legislation was quickly passed to initiate the Bracero programme!

Their legends and mythologies express beliefs that they have been chosen by God, despite obvious discrimination and disadvantage. In the context of oppression, negatively privileged groups create a habitus , which includes stereotypes about this providential mission, and explanations for why and how their true honour was stolen by a cruel and deceitful dominant Stand against whom their own disadvantage is measured.

Weber emphasizes that such groups are often deeply religious and develop a strong sense of identity to sustain collective honour in the context of discrimination. Following this, there are brief discussions of first gender and its relationship to Stand , a subject Weber himself never really effectively addressed, and lastly a description of the examples Weber himself developed.

Feudal guilds were self-governing associations that regulated entry into a particular trade, set prices and most importantly excluded entry to those unqualified by virtue of birth, education, religion, clan membership or other shared characteristic.

Wirtschaft und Gesellschaft (German Edition)

Today, much of this is embedded in ideologies of credentialing, which assumes that formal education, oaths and official certification signal competence, skill and utility in the marketplace see, for example, Collins, and ; Waters, : — How do they do this? By any objective standard, their capacity to deal with the routine injuries and illnesses are quite similar—and both doctors and nurses are quite capable of making competent diagnoses, and prescribing treatment.

But of course only doctors legitimately do this, a right that is protected by the legal order. And despite competencies that are similar in an objective fashion, the lower ranked Stand that is, nurses are paid less and are assumed to be less competent, whereas the higher ranked Stand that is, doctors are paid better and assumed to have special competencies—even if they do not. The ideologies of the two professions reflect these hierarchical relationships, with the doctors needing to explain why they naturally have more rights and money than nurses, and the subordinated nurses needing to explain why they receive less money, have fewer rights, but also have hidden honour.

As for the legitimating ideology itself, doctors focus on their glorious past: grades in college, biochemistry courses, rigour of the medical schooling training and the solemnity of the Hippocratic Oath. For nurses, the emphasis is on day-to-day contact with patients, on-the-job competencies and the obvious fact that the work of the hospital is dependent on their constant presence and not that of doctors who are often absent and only make periodic rounds.

To maintain exclusivity, doctors and nurses cultivate different symbols, routines and rituals. Among these are different uniforms, badges and vocabulary that sustain stereotypes about relative competence—doctors are assumed by doctors anyway to be cerebral, wise and skilled, whereas nurses are assumed to be practical but perhaps a bit impulsive and certainly not as cerebral. Dominant doctors assume this relationship to be natural and a function of the rigourous training doctors undertake to gain entry into an ancient profession, even as some doctors become alcoholics and drug addicts as they age.

And indeed when such things do happen, care is taken that the fellow doctor is protected from the broader legal system and dealt with internally by the Stand. As for nurses, they might see doctors as impetuous prima donnas, careless and unaware of the very human needs of the patients. They also see doctors as overpaid—and nurses secretly hope that one day their true honour will finally be recognized, and they will get a big raise.

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Such are the stereotypes of hospital-based anthropological purebreds that persist as beliefs about relative competence and incompetence. Now, the case of doctors and nurses is a convenient way to think about this distinction because professional lines are so carefully drawn, particularly in the relatively confined world of a hospital. Thus administrators are housed in separate buildings, and use separate bathrooms. Students meanwhile have exclusive access to dormitory-based dining commons from which faculty are excluded. Faculty dining clubs are similarly exclusive, except for the students present as subordinated wait staff.

Administrators have private parking places, and are unlikely to eat in front of either group. As Goffman describes, sustaining exclusivity of the established hierarchical order and avoiding embarrassment that mixing implies are important for maintaining the hierarchy.

Indeed, in the world of the modern university, there are even explicit rules about exogamous sexual relationships between faculty and undergraduate students that are enforced both via the legal order in the United States, as well as through normative feelings of disgust by faculty and students alike.

Such principles of professional exclusivity apply to bakers, soldiers, barbers, lawyers, teachers, taxi drivers, truck drivers, that is, any professional Stand that seeks to include and exclude on the basis of rituals designed to preserve their style of life.

In such contexts, exclusivity via norms regarding dress, language use, professional activities and so on emerged. Such relationships are often defined by kinship terms, and used to justify the arrangement of endogamous marriages. Dress and other distinctions, with distinctive jackets, kilts, hats, badges and other symbolic signifiers emerge to highlight residential distinctions.

Max Weber: Wirtschaft und Gesellschaft

In modern times, this might include the wearing of the sports jersey from a favourite team, or in the case of Texans, a cowboy hat and boots. In turn, this is reflected in norms about endogamy and exogamy, which have the effect of maintaining rights to the land, grazing rights, guild membership and other claims to economic privilege based on residency. Distinctive claims about assignment and assertion emerge in the social context of the group Cornell and Hartmann, : 19— This happened despite the availability of other salient identities such as Hanoverian, Hessian, Prussian, Bavarian or Swabian.

What these examples have in common is a context of European migration and a need to establish an identity relative to a pre-existing dominant majority. Or as Weber writes:. Persons who are externally different are simply despised irrespective of what they accomplish or what they are, or they are venerated superstitiously if they are too powerful in the long run.

In this case antipathy is the primary and normal reaction. In the United States, Weber writes, this is the origin of racist ideologies that metastasize after the destruction of the caste-based slave labour system at the end of the Civil War, re-emerging as the beliefs, habitus , norms and laws that protected exclusivity and advantage for the dominant white Stand. Context-dependent definitions of skin colour and hierarchy persisted in this context despite legal changes.

In this context, US American whites and blacks developed persistent cultures rooted in the positive and negative privileges emerging from the racial caste system. The ideologies that emerged among the whites explained the historical origins of the status quo by defining the privileges of race—the result being self-fulfilling prophecies describing how privilege of the present are a natural outgrowth of the heroism of the past. At the same time, negatively privileged blacks developed a strong culture highlighting the fact that American institutions from southern plantations to the modern military are dependent on the skills and labour of subordinated blacks.

Indeed, it is in such contexts that messiah-like figures like Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King, Jr emerged from the Gemeinschaft , as well as demands for the legal protection by the federal government of civil rights, especially voting rights. This is perhaps why social segregation is so persistent today, despite the emergence of messianic figures like Martin Luther King, Jr and decades of legal-rational change in the rational institutions of the Gesellschaft. Social and legal structures underpinning durable Stand -based division of labour is mediated, Weber writes, by rituals focussed on purity.

The system in India was and is an extreme case, as Weber notes.

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The United States and South Africa had particularly strong race-based caste systems in which racial groups were assigned specific tasks by law within the division of labour. Merchant minorities such as the Chinese of Southeast Asia, the Indians of East Africa and the Lebanese of West Africa were also thought of in such caste-based contexts.


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Certainly this applies to ethnic groups, language communities, and sexual minorities. Gender as a socially constructed category is found in every known society and has implications everywhere for inequality, particularly in the context of patriarchy. Monkhoods, sororities, fraternities, militaries, cabarets, dance troupes, sports teams, age-cohorts, employers and so on all use gender explicitly as the primary a basis for inclusion and exclusion.


  1. The Concept of Gemeinschaft and Gesellschaft;
  2. Blossoms From A Twisted Tree.
  3. Seventh Day Adventists: What Do They Believe? (Cults and Isms Book 15).
  4. Five Lieder for Low Voice, Op. 105, No. 1, Wie Melodien zieht es mir.
  5. Running is Life: Transcending the Crisis of Modernity.
  6. Many other groups use gendered identities as a marker of exclusivity as well. Relations between male and female can be intimate and also unequal. And within most gender-based Stand groups, preserving exogamy between male and female does not always make much sense! What examples from his day were relevant? Weber uses as an example the propertyless who come under the control of the cattle breeders, such as slaves or serfs. In such context, he writes, the honour of the Stand apportioned by the Gemeinschaft becomes the most important source of distinction for the distribution of life chances Giddens, : Few situations matched the abject poverty of serfdom and slavery in the modern world, except maybe prisons where prisoners lack property altogether.

    Now, of course, Weber does not write of prisons. The distribution of tasks in the Hindu caste system is, for Weber, a good example of this. As for positive privilege, Weber develops an odd illustration from European duelling practices that illustrates Stand privilege well. Thus, it was unthinkable for a noble to issue a duel challenge to peasant, or vice versa. Such stories Weber writes are why so many Americans claimed descent from Pocohontas of Virginia, and the Pilgrim Fathers in New England rather than presumably New England merchants and southern cotton dealers.

    In developing these examples, Weber emphasizes that, even though the accumulation of money occurred in the anonymous and despised marketplace of the past, the desire for exclusivity and honour meant that a privileged new Stand emerged in which financial activity was viewed as beneath their level, in the same fashion Weber noted for the Indian Brahmins.

    In Germany Weber observes, the boss and the clerk are clearly subordinated in both the office and outside the office. Bosses never fraternize with their clerk. In contrast in the new United States, although the same subordination and deference existed between the boss and clerk in the office, they might even play billiards together as equals after work. Want to Read. Are you sure you want to remove Wirtschaft und Gesellschaft from your list? There's no description for this book yet. Can you add one? Nachlass , J. Mohr Paul Siebeck.

    Basic concepts in sociology , Published by Carol Publishing Group. Economy and society: an outline of interpretive sociology. Economy and society: an outline of interpretive sociology , University of California Press. Wirtschaft und Gesellschaft: Grundriss d. Wirtschaft und Gesellschaft: Grundriss der verstehenden Soziologie , Mohr. Max Weber on law in economy and society: edited with introd.

    ISBN 13: 9781289345709

    Translation from Max Weber, Wirtschaft und Gesellschaft, 2d. Basic concepts in sociology. Economy and society: an outline of interpretive sociology , Bedmaster Press.

    Economy and society: an outline of interpretive sociology , Bedminster Press. Basic concepts in sociology , Citadel Press. This means that though they are useful conceptual tools for seeing and understanding how society works, they are rarely if ever observed exactly as they are defined, nor are they mutually exclusive. Instead, when you look at the social world around you, you are likely to see both forms of social order present.

    You may find that you are part of communities in which social ties and social interaction are guided by a sense of traditional and moral responsibility while simultaneously living within a complex, post-industrial society. Share Flipboard Email.

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    Gesellschaft bei Max Weber (German Edition) Gesellschaft bei Max Weber (German Edition)
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