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In some of his work, in particular his provocative lecture on "The Nation State and Economic Policy" delivered in 1895, Weber criticises the immigration of Poles and blames the Junker class for perpetuating Slavic immigration to serve their selfish interests.His condition forced him to reduce his teaching and eventually leave his course unfinished in the autumn of 1899.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.
This attempt was unsuccessful, in part because many liberals feared social-democratic revolutionary ideals.
At the outbreak of World War I, Weber, aged 50, volunteered for service and was appointed as a reserve officer and put in charge of organizing the army hospitals in Heidelberg, a role he fulfilled until the end of 1915.
Weber's ordeal with mental illness was carefully described in a personal chronology that was destroyed by his wife.
This chronicle was supposedly destroyed because Marianne Weber feared that Max Weber's work would be discredited by the Nazis if his experience with mental illness were widely known.
Weber is best known for his thesis combining economic sociology and the sociology of religion, elaborated in his book The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism, in which he proposed that ascetic Protestantism was one of the major "elective affinities" associated with the rise in the Western world of market-driven capitalism and the rational-legal nation-state.
He argued that it was in the basic tenets of Protestantism to boost capitalism.After the First World War, Max Weber was among the founders of the liberal German Democratic Party.He also ran unsuccessfully for a seat in parliament and served as advisor to the committee that drafted the ill-fated democratic Weimar Constitution of 1919.The young Weber and his brother Alfred, who also became a sociologist and economist, thrived in this intellectual atmosphere.Weber's 1876 Christmas presents to his parents, when he was thirteen years old, were two historical essays entitled "About the course of German history, with special reference to the positions of the Emperor and the Pope", and "About the Roman Imperial period from Constantine to the migration of nations".Weber also made a variety of other contributions in economic history, as well as economic theory and methodology.Weber's analysis of modernity and rationalisation significantly influenced the critical theory associated with the Frankfurt School.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.In 1890 the Verein established a research program to examine "the Polish question" or Ostflucht: the influx of Polish farm workers into eastern Germany as local labourers migrated to Germany's rapidly industrialising cities.From 1893 to 1899 Weber was a member of the Alldeutscher Verband (Pan-German League), an organization that campaigned against the influx of the Polish workers; the degree of Weber's support for the Germanisation of Poles and similar nationalist policies is still debated by modern scholars.