Thursday, April 23, 2009

Weber and the academic roots in the spirit of the capitalism

After having analyzed Durkheim’s perspectives about the methodological and sociological approaches and his theoretical paradigms, we have Weber and his new methodological contributions. Weber focuses on the ideal type of the social action and the analysis of the origins of the capitalism as the motives by which the culture of the current economic system has been deeply assimilated by the Western society. The assimilation of the spirit of capitalism involves not only the bureaucracy social class, but also involves the different educational institutions which have assumed the economic ethics as part of its unconsciousness of knowledge reproduction. Weber points out that, nobody has the option to choose to be part of the economic systems.

As Mary Douglas has analyzed, there is a great encouragement from institutions to the get the people involve in their systems, based on the rational organization of the orbital economic system and under its reinforcement. In addition, this author describes how those institutions reinforce the social and cultural characteristics. In addition, Bourdieu describes how the educational systems reproduce the social class (even economic) and establish a competence. His perspective is rooted in the Weberian descriptions of capitalism and its expansion to the all the components of the cultural components, becoming the main or common style of life. Bourdieu points out that the habitus and the field of the social scientists (among others scientists) are the space where the scientists compete, trying to achieve what Weber would call the individual success. By this way, the modus operandi described by Bourdieu can be seen as a result of Weberian descriptions of the spirit of capitalism.

Weber and Bourdieu would coincide in the points mentioned above. In addition, we could say that Bourdieu´s analysis of the academic system as a file of competence is rooted in Weber’s perspectives about the influence of the economic systems in the different spheres of the society. However, those authors would not coincide in some points related to the participatory of social scientists, which implies different steps and methodological approaches for both of the authors.
Weber has influenced all his predecessors with his strong explanations of the origin of the capitalism. Thus, we can see how, many of the contemporary theories take his academic reflexivity about the system of life (that now is not only economic), and the extraordinary analysis about the “vulnerability” of the Western culture to the external and dominant economic spirits born in a small group of poeple not many centuries ago.


  1. Diego-

    I thought this post was very thoughtful. I especially like how you brought up Weber's view of the "vulnerability" of modern capitalism (Western) based on the capitalistic spirit. To me this relates in two ways. Not only to the "vanishing mediator" image we discussed in class, but also the vulnerability we're seeing in today's recession. The spirit faded but it seems like the whole system might be faltering, too. Good job!

  2. I liked the one sentence about how nobody has a choice to participate in this system due to the unconscious knowledge production. The fact that Weber focused on a small group of people makes you wonder about the unconscious knowledge of production, and who is controlling that knowledge of production or what is even constitute as knowledge in the first place. I love the cartoon too! Great visual.

  3. This is the rational universality of Weberian approach as you can use it to analyze any phenomenon.