Great Economists Since Petty and Boisguilbert
Edited by Gilbert Faccarello and Heinz D. Kurz
Chapter 58: Max Weber (1864–1920)
The scholarly reputation of Max Weber (1864–1920) has undergone extensive revision in recent years. In the mid-twentieth century he became a canonical figure for the development and dissemination of modern sociology and political science. This movement chiefly originated in the United States, and was based on a limited number of translations of his writings, and a particular interpretation of these translations. From the mid-1960s this wave met increasing opposition from a growing interest in the work of Karl Marx as the central theorist of modern capitalism, for whom economic interests and class conflict were the motor of human development. Weber’s apparent emphasis upon rationalization as the principal narrative of modernity, together with what seemed an apolitical advocacy of value neutrality for the sciences, was widely considered a deficiency in comparison to Marx. However, during the 1980s interest in Marx’s account of capitalism and historical development waned; and scholars began to demonstrate that Weber’s contribution to the development of the social sciences, and to our understanding of modernity in general, was far more coherent and wide-ranging than had hitherto been generally realized. In 1984 the first of many volumes in a new Max Weber Gesamtausgabe (MWG) was published; and although this project was still unfinished 30 years later, the creation of an authoritative complete edition from his extensive and scattered writings, correspondence and lectures has played a significant part in raising the standard of international discussion of the history, present and future of the social sciences. Max Weber is no...
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