On Charisma and Institution Building
This selection from Max Weber's writings presents his variegated work from one central focus, the relationship between charisma on the one hand, and the process of institution building in the major fields of the social order such as politics, law,...
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This selection from Max Weber's writings presents his variegated work from one central focus, the relationship between charisma on the one hand, and the process of institution building in the major fields of the social order such as politics, law, economy, and culture and religion on the other. That the concept of charisma is crucially important for understanding the processes of institution building is implicit in Weber's own writings, and the explication of this relationship is perhaps the most important challenge which Weber's work poses for modern sociology.
"Max Weber on Charisma and Institution Building" is a volume in "The Heritage of Sociology," a series edited by Morris Janowitz. Other volumes deal with the writings of George Herbert Mead, William F. Ogburn, Louis Wirth, W. I. Thomas, Robert E. Park, and the Scottish Moralists--Adam Smith, David Hume, Adam Ferguson, and others.
Max Weber, a German political economist, legal historian, and sociologist, had an impact on the social sciences that is difficult to overestimate. According to a widely held view, he was the founder of the modern way of conceptualizing society and thus the modern social sciences. His major interest was the process of rationalization, which characterizes Western civilization---what he called the "demystification of the world." This interest led him to examine the three types of domination or authority that characterize hierarchical relationships: charismatic, traditional, and legal. It also led him to the study of bureaucracy; all of the world's major religions; and capitalism, which he viewed as a productof the Protestant ethic. With his contemporary, the French sociologist Emile Durkheim---they seem not to have known each other's work---he created modern sociology.