Pub. date: 2006 | Online Pub. Date: September 15, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412939584 | Print ISBN: 9780761930877 | Online ISBN: 9781412939584| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Brenda R. Kallio
Max Weber (1864–1920), a prominent German economics scholar, was a founding theorist in the field of sociology. His Verstehen doctrine, controversial and widely debated, presupposed that to understand a particular economic or social phenomenon, a person must be capable of interpreting actions and not be satisfied to merely describe a situation based on actions. As part of the “interpreting” process, he specified four behavioral “Ideal Types”: rational means to rational ends, rational means to irrational ends, guided by emotion, and guided by custom or habit. Weber's other economic research included studies of capitalism in the context of idealism and materialism, Economy and Society , and his best-known writing, The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism , where he posited that seeds of capitalism are germinated in the Protestant work ethic and that advanced capitalism creates a new ...