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Over time, Weber would also be significantly affected by the marital tension between his father, "a man who enjoyed earthly pleasures", and his mother, a devout Calvinist "who sought to lead an ascetic life".
The Protestant Ethic formed the earliest part in Weber's broader investigations into world religion; he went on to examine the religions of China, the religions of India and ancient Judaism, with particular regard to their differing economic consequences and conditions of social stratification.
In another major work, "Politics as a Vocation", Weber defined the state as an entity that successfully claims a "monopoly of the legitimate use of physical force within a given territory".
He earned his law doctorate in 1889 by writing a dissertation on legal history titled The history of commercial partnerships in the Middle Ages.
This work was used as part of a longer work On the History of Trading Companies in the Middle Ages, based on South-European Sources, published in the same year.
In 1886 Weber passed the examination for Referendar, comparable to the bar association examination in the British and American legal systems.
Throughout the late 1880s, Weber continued his study of law and history.After spending months in a sanatorium during the summer and autumn of 1900, Weber and his wife travelled to Italy at the end of the year and did not return to Heidelberg until April 1902.He would again withdraw from teaching in 1903 and not return to it till 1919.After Weber's immense productivity in the early 1890s, he did not publish any papers between early 1898 and late 1902, finally resigning his professorship in late 1903.Freed from those obligations, in that year he accepted a position as associate editor of the Archives for Social Science and Social Welfare, This essay was the only one of his works from that period that was published as a book during his lifetime.After contracting Spanish flu, he died of pneumonia in 1920, aged 56.He was the oldest of the seven children of Max Weber Sr., a wealthy and prominent civil servant and member of the National Liberal Party, and his wife Helene (Fallenstein), who partly descended from French Huguenot immigrants and held strong moral absolutist ideas.Weber was a key proponent of methodological anti-positivism, arguing for the study of social action through interpretive (rather than purely empiricist) means, based on understanding the purpose and meaning that individuals attach to their own actions.Unlike Durkheim, he did not believe in mono-causality and rather proposed that for any outcome there can be multiple causes.Thus, it can be said that the spirit of capitalism is inherent to Protestant religious values.Against Marx's historical materialism, Weber emphasised the importance of cultural influences embedded in religion as a means for understanding the genesis of capitalism.