Exam 2 Guide2010


Bio & Major Works

  1. Birth/Death
  2. Family situation
  3. Education
  4. Career basics
  5. Major works
    1. Protestant Ethic and Spirit of Capitalism (1904-5)
    2. Methodology of the Social Sciences (ethical neutrality)
    3. Sociology of Religion
    4. Economy and Society (1905->)
      1. "Bureaucracy"
      2. "Types of Legitimate Domination"
      3. "Class, Status and Party"
      4. "Politics as a Vocation"
      5. "Science as a Vocation"


  1. Ideal Type
  2. Types of legitimate domination (1,2,3)
  3. Bureaucracy (7 characteristics)
  4. State as monopoly on legitimate use of coercion
  5. Politics vs. Science (ethic of responsibility vs. ethic of ultimate ends)
  6. Subjectively meaningful action
  7. Rationality, rationalization
  8. disenchantment
  9. legitimacy
  10. iron cage
  11. calling, Beruf, vocation
  12. worldly asceticism
  13. Protestant Ethic
  14. Spirit of Capitalism
  15. Calvin
  16. Protestant Reformation
  17. Ethical neutrality (strive to distinguish empirical facts from one's own private evaluations)
  18. methodological individualism
  19. inconvenient facts
  20. objectivity in the social sciences (aka ethical neutrality)
  21. class, status, party (social honor, diagram, multi-dimensionality of stratification)


"The fate of an epoch that has eaten of the tree of knowledge is that it must … recognize that general views of life and the universe can never be the products of increasing empirical knowledge, and that the highest ideals, which move us most forcefully, are always formed only in the struggle with other ideals which are just as sacred to others as ours are to us." "'Objectivity' in Social Science and Social Policy," in The Methodology of the Social Sciences, trans. and eds. Edward A. Shils and Henry A. Finch (Glencoe, IL: The Free Press, 1949), p. 57.

“No sociologist should think himself too good, even in his (sic) old age, to make tens of thousands of quite trivial computations in his head and perhaps for months at a time.”

The fate of our times is characterized by rationalization and intellectualization and, above all, by the disenchantment of the world." "Science as a Vocation" (1918-1919)

"A fully developed bureaucratic mechanism stands in the same relationship to other forms as does the machine to the non-mechanical production of goods. Precision, speed, clarity, documentary ability, continuity, discretion, unity, rigid subordination, reduction of friction and material and personal expenses are unique to bureaucratic organization." "The Theory of Social and Economic Organization"

Politics is a strong and slow boring of hard boards. (Die Politik bedeutet ein starkes langsames Bohren von harten Brettern mit Leidenschaft und Augenmaß zugleich.) It takes both passion and perspective. Certainly all historical experience confirms the truth - that man would not have attained the possible unless time and again he had reached out for the impossible. But to do that a man must be a leader, and not only a leader but a hero as well, in a very sober sense of the word. And even those who are neither leaders nor heroes must arm themselves with that steadfastness of heart which can brave even the crumbling of all hopes. This is necessary right now, or else men will not be able to attain even that which is possible today." Politics as a Vocation (1919)

The Puritan wanted to work in a calling; we are forced to do so. For when asceticism was carried out of monastic cells into everyday life, and began to dominate worldly morality, it did its part in building the tremendous cosmos of the modern economic order. This order is now bound to the technical and economic conditions of machine production which to-day determine the lives of all the individuals who are born into this mechanism, not only those directly concerned with economic acquisition, with irresistible force. Perhaps it will so determine them until the last ton of fossilized coal is burnt. In Baxter's view the care for external goods should only lie on the shoulders of the "saint like a light cloak, which can be thrown aside at any moment." But fate decreed that the cloak should become an iron cage. (PESC)


Bio & Major Works

  1. Birth/Death
  2. Family situation
  3. Education
  4. Career basics
  5. Major works (know dates and main topic/concepts)
    1. Division of Labor in Society (1893): mechanical and organic solidarity, pre-contractual nature of contract
    2. Suicide (1897): suicide as social not personal, types of suicide, anomie
    3. Rules of the Sociological Method (1895): (treat) social facts (as things), crime is normal
    4. Elementary Forms of the Religious Life (1912): ritual, society is god, sacred/profane
    5. Primitive Classification (with Mauss) (1903): collective representations


  1. sociological wholism (vs. methodological reductionism)
  2. sociological realism (vs. nominalism)
  3. social fact
  4. mechanical & organic solidarity
  5. "crime is normal"
  6. anomie
  7. types of suicide
  8. suicide as social
  9. sacred/profane
  10. ritual
  11. society is god
  12. collective consciousness/conscience
  13. collective representation
  14. society as origin of mental categories (logic, space, time, causality)
  15. Four types of social action (goal oriented, value oriented, emotional/affective, traditional)


"Treat social facts as things"

[Social Facts] consist of manners of acting, thinking and feeling external to the individual, which are invested with a coercive power by virtue of which they exercise control over him. Consequently, since they consist of representations and actions, they cannot be confused with organic phenomena, nor with psychical phenomena, which have no existence save in and through the individual consciousness. (The Rules of Sociological Method p. 52)

[Society] is not a mere juxtaposition of individuals who, upon entering into it, bring with them an intrinsic morality. Man is only a moral being because he lives in society, since morality consists in solidarity with the group, and varies according to that solidarity. Cause all social life to vanish, and moral life would vanish at the same time. (The Division of Labour in Society, p. 331)

Punishment "constitutes essentially a reaction of passionate feeling, graduated in intensity, which society exerts through the mediation of an organised body over those of its members who have violated certain rules of conduct." (22) The same passion is the source of both the rules of conduct and the reaction to their breach: "In other words, we should not say that an act offends the common consciousness because it is criminal, but that it is criminal because it offends that consciousness. We do not condemn it because it is a crime, but it is a crime because we condemn it." (Rules of the Sociological Method, 23)



Rob Stones. 1998. Key Sociological Thinkers

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