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Politics and Sociology in the Thought of Max Weber by Anthony Giddens

Review by: A. SAHAY


Sociology, Vol. 7, No. 2 (May 1973), p. 296
Published by: Sage Publications, Ltd.
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296

SHORTERNOTICES

socialcontrol,socialization,
and
The 'reflexive'
attitudewhichGiddens
structure,
Butwhatisparticularly
useful takeshas unfortunately
socialconflict.
becomea naively
aboutthisstudy
isthattheauthor
narration,
investigatesregressive
mainlybecauseof this
thecontext
It beginswith a misleading
theseissueswithin
of a socialist assumption.
- a bad beginning
he discussesbiographical
national
sketch
fora
exonomy.
Accordingly
andtensions
whichare 'reflexive'
He
theemergent
strains
Weber's
study. onlymentions
between briefly
heldprofessorships
atFreiburg
developingfrom contradictions
(p. 11)
ofpeasant
and andVienna(p. 14),whenhislecturing
socialfeatures
career
farming
specific
Heconsidersstarted
economic
forces.
in 1892at Berlin,withHeidelberg
wider'rational,'
co- as thecentral
locationof mostof his life,
thatthe development
of agricultural
solution
for
these
and
ended
with
could
a
Munichand Vienna;thus,
operatives provide
thateither
of con- giving
theimpression
theFreiburg
problemsin the socialstructure
was
the
most
Poland.
oneor that,
period
important
temporary
briefspellat Vienna,
Galeskiadoptsa completely
sociologicalapartfromanother
thewholeofhisbook; Weberhadlittleconnection
withacademic
throughout
perspective
'rural' life.
hereat lastis a sociologist
studying
characterof Giddens'
by drawing
upona widerange The regressive
phenomena
and data.But it is narration
is shownin all hisassertions
and
theories
of sociological
transitions
betweenWeber's
thatthebookmakes 'interpretative'
notsolelyforthisreason
andpolitical
andbetween
it willalsobe useful politics
a fruitful
contribution;
sociology
in thecomparative
forthoseinterested
study politicsand methodology
(for example,
andtheeconomic pp.8, 10,12,15,30-31,34).
socialchange,
ofpeasants,
transitions
should
Oneofhisinterpretative
ofsocialist
countries.
development
be
to
indicate
the
serious
nature
enough
RICHARD
SCASE
of Giddens'generalmisunderstanding
of
at
Kent
of
Canterbury
University
Weber's
andtherelationship
between
analysis
hispolitical
viewsandtheoretical
statements.
andSociology
inthe Giddens
Politics
Giddens,
Anthony
than
: 'Rather
3
5)
says
(p.
generalizing
London
:Macmillan, fromtheeconomic
ofMaxWeber.
Thought
to thepolitical,
Weber
1972,66pp.,6op.
the
to
the
from
economic:
political
generalizes
- from
oftasks
a series
Inthismonograph
is,
(which
specialization
sponsoredbureaucratic
the
characteristic
of the
first
and
edited
him
Giddens
and
the
B.S.A.
foremost,
by
by
istreated
asthemostinteversion
of legal-rational
a 'time-bound'
wishesto provide
state)
onthe
ofcapitalism'.
It is a 'reflexive'
Weber'ssociology.
Bureaucracy,
study. gralfeature
of
alone,isanapparatus
Accordingto Giddens,Weber'spolitical basisofthissentence
the
industrial
economic
'an
essential
source
of
(or
system
capitalism),
writingsprovide
isfrom
theeconomic
to
andcoherenceso thegeneralization
ofthecontinuity
illumination
like
if
a
later
the
the
inhisthought'
system
political
political
(p. 9).
showedsuchan adThiskindof claimneedsa clearjustifi- Bismarckian
Germany
seemsto
it:that ministrative
thatunderlies
cationoftheassumption
Bureaucracy
apparatus.
- whichis inevitably
in thisday
a political
a statement
of be primarily
a theory
apparatus
- iscontained
inthespecific
, and age, but froma Weberianhistoricalsignificance
general
if
it
is
in
of
a
views
sociological
pointofview,itwasa develop(even
person
subjective
industrial
thiscasethesameperson)on a historicallymentof Western
capibourgeois
modern
taken
over
talism
can
be
The
situation.
legal-rational
by
specific
political
specific
of ancienttimesmay
as states.Bureaucracies
withoutexplicit
understood
justification
ofoffices,
did
theskeleton
butGiddens'
they
assumptionhaveprovided
partofthegeneral,
times.
theethosofmodern
as an unthinkingnotprovide
can onlybe understood
of knowltribute
to Mannheim's
sociology
A. SAHAY
thesedays
edge,whichis beingcelebrated
as 'reflexive'
ofSheffield
University
sociology.

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