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Economy and Society (2 Volume Set) [Paperback]

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Book Description

1 July 1992
Max Weber's "Economy and Society" is the greatest sociological treatise written in this century. Published posthumously in Germany in the early 1920's, it has become a constitutive part of the modern sociological imagination. "Economy and Society" was the first strictly empirical comparison of social structures and normative orders in world-historical depth, containing the famous chapters on social action, religion, law, bureaucracy, charisma, the city, and the political community with its dimensions of class, status and power. "Economy and Society" is Weber's only major treatise for an educated general public. It was meant to be a broad introduction, but in its own way it is the most demanding textbook yet written by a sociologist. The precision of its definitions, the complexity of its typologies and the wealth of its historical content make the work a continuous challenge at several levels of comprehension: for the advanced undergraduate who gropes for his sense of society, for the graduate student who must develop his own analytical skills, and for the scholar who must match wits with Weber. When the long-awaited first complete English edition of "Economy and Society" was published in 1968, Arthur Stinchcombe wrote in the "American Journal of Sociology": 'My answer to the question of whether people should still start their sociological intellectual biographies with "Economy and Society" is yes'. Reinhard Bendix noted in the "American Sociological Review" that the 'publication of a compete English edition of Weber's most systematic work [represents] the culmination of a cultural transmission to the American setting...It will be a study-guide and compendium for years to come for all those interested in historical sociology and comparative study'. In a lengthy introduction, Guenther Roth traces the intellectual prehistory of "Economy and Society", the gradual emergence of its dominant themes and the nature of its internal logic. Mr. Roth is a Professor of Sociology at Columbia University. Mr. Wittich heads an economic research group at the United Nations.

Product details

  • Paperback: 1470 pages
  • Publisher: University of California Press; New Ed edition (1 July 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0520035003
  • ISBN-13: 978-0520035003
  • Product Dimensions: 10.8 x 15.2 x 23.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 83,788 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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An introductory discussion of concepts can hardly be dispensed with, in spite of the fact that it is unavoidably abstract and hence gives the impression of remoteness from reality. Read the first page
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Society and Economy 19 July 2012
By PaulT
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
In perfect state and very well wrapped in into two separate boxes as to protect from any damage. I was very satisfied with the purchase and the way I received it
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3.9 out of 5 stars  14 reviews
77 of 83 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the Top Ten social science books of all time! 7 Dec 1999
By Hans Bakker - Published on
Weber's Economy and Society was the number one pick by sociologists at the World Congress of Sociology. Twenty percent chose the book as one of the top ten. No other book had as high a percentage of admirers. Many key concepts come from this encyclopedic work: Modern Capitalism, modern bureaucracy, charismatic authority, and goal-rational social action. The overall thesis of this complex magnum opus concerns the de-mystification and rationalization of our world, the famous iron cage thesis. One neglected aspect is Weber's ideal type model of patrimonial prebendal traditional authority and its oscillation with feudal authority. Feudalism promoted capitalism and capitalism has a tendency to become an iron cage of instrumental rationality. The main difficulty with the book is the casuistic writing style; it is not a book to sit down and read, but more like a reference work. Before accepting trendy PoMo discourses take a good look at this in depth examination of one key aspect of globalization. (This two volume set supplants previous partial translations of portions of the book, e.g. Parsons' translation of one part, and the editing work is in the highest scholarly tradition.) Everyone interested in social science should study this book! It is an exemplar for comparative historical analysis in sociology (CHS) that is neither naively Positivistic nor dogmatically Marxist.
18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Classic 6 May 2005
By Richard Swedberg - Published on
This is an uncommly brilliant work in social theory and sociology. Moreover, economic sociology was founded through "Economy and Society", especially its second chapter ("Sociological Categories of Economic Action") which is the size of a small book (approx. 200 pages).

The general theoretical approach of Weber can be characterized as one of "interpretive economic sociology", that is, as a type of economic sociology in which the concept of "meaning" is at the very center of the explanatory exercise.

Social action (to follow Ch. 1) is defined as a type of behavior to which meaning is attached ("action"), and which is oriented to the behavior of others ("social"). Economic sociology consequently deals with "economic social action".

"Economy and Society" was part of a larger work entitled "Handbook of Social Economics", which included volumess on "Economy and Nature", "Economy and Technology" - and "Economy and Society". In his work Weber explores such topics as "economy and law", "economy and religion", "economy and politics", and much more.

The work "Economy and Society", finally, is a bric-a-brac. Weber himself only sent 4 chs to the printer (=Chs 1-4). The rest of the 2 volumes consists of manuscripts that his wife and economist Melchior Palyi put together, pretty much as they saw fit. Caution is consequently necessary when reading "Economy and Society"; and this work should not be treated as "a book" by Weber.
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Crucial 18 April 2000
By A Reader - Published on
Central to the development of sociology. For readers interested in the great sociologists of the 19th century, Marx, Durkheim, and Weber, this is a key read. Start with THE PROTESTANT ETHIC by Weber, but ECONOMY AND SOCIETY is a rich and brilliant elaboration of Weber's central themes.
It's dry, but it's great thinking, and very important.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars ES and Schluchter's developmental history 9 Oct 2003
By Raymond Lo - Published on
It seems that many people comment this book with the difficulty to read and the bad organization. However, I want to suggest that after read Schluchter's 'The Rise of Western Rationalism', you will know more about why Weber's writings are in this style. Simply speaking, it links to Weber's view of History, and if he want to elaborate the history in a approiate way, not a simple linear evolutionary way, he had to demonstrate the whole picture--or in Schluchter's word, 'basic configuration'--of history. History, in this case the rise of Rationalism, is not compose solely by few influential events, but also related to the others. Those 'significant historical events' are only the consequence of the competition between ideas and historical events, therefore, Weber wanted to explain why the configuration favour the rise of western rationalism, so he must concern all elements constitute the history. That is, Weber showed us the conditions and the process of competition within or among the many spheres, I think that is why Weber had to use this seems fragmented writing style.
13 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars comment of a comment made four years ago 30 Mar 2004
By "bigbruther" - Published on
I expect this comment is going to be useful, if at all, only to first year graduate students, so it'll be understandable if it's not rated very highly.... Anyway, just a quick note on Mr. Jack White's comment of April 11, 2000. One thing that Max Weber's Economy and Society is NOT, is a foundational text for structural-functionalism. That honor would probably go to Emile Durkheim's The Division of Labor in Society-- to be followed oh-so many years later by seminal works of Americans Talcott Parsons and Robert K. Merton. I'm not sure what Mr. White was thinking, but I'm pretty sure it wasn't about classical sociological theory.
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