Simple intellectual integrity [involves giving
account to oneself] of the final meaningof
one's own actions.
Widely recognized as one of the major founding fathers of sociology, Max Weber (1864 - 1920) is perhaps today best known for his attempts todefine the uniqueness of the modern West and to provide causal explanations for its specific historical development. However, far fromofferinga justification for industrial societies, his sociological and political writings both evidence a profound
ambivalence toward them; although impressed by their capacity to sustain high standards of living,Weber feared thatmany of their foundational elements opposed the further unfoldingof human compassion, ethical action, and individual autonomy. At the dawningof the twentieth century, he asked ``where are we headed'' and ``how shall we live with dignity in this new age?'' He worried that it might become an ``iron cage'' of impersonal, manipulative, and harsh relationships lacking binding values and noble ideals.
Weber studied history and law at the universities of Heidelberg, Göttingen, and Berlin. His doctoral dissertation investigated how legal forms of partnership were developed to spread the risk on medieval trading ventures. His habilitation thesis, required for teaching in a German university, examined the changing forms of property ownership in ancient Rome. Both studies required an intensive involvement in primary materials (and so foreign languages and handwritten documents). Weber, in this and also his other intellectual interests, was a beneficiary of the research seminar, which had placed the German universities in the forefront of research in the study of cultures, history, theology, languages, and archaeology. One of Weber’s greatest achievements was the comparative study of the economic ethics of the world religions, an achievement made possible in large part by German scholarship and the techniques of interpreting documents. Nonetheless,Weber waged impassioned battles throughout his life on behalf of ethical positions and scolded relentlessly all who lacked a rigorous sense of justice and social responsibility. As his student Paul Honigsheimreports,Weber became a man possessed whenever threats to the autonomy of the individual were discussed (seeHonigsheim, 1968, pp. 6, 43) ±whether tomothers seeking custody of their children, women students at German universities, or bohemian social outcasts and political rebels. Not surprisingly, his concerns for the fate of theGerman nation, and for the future ofWesternCivilization, led himperpetually into the arena of politics. Vigorously opposed to the definitionof this realm as one of Realpolitik, ``sober realism,'' or wheelingand dealing, he called out vehemently for politicians to act by reference to a sternmoral code: an ``ethic of responsibility'' (Verantwortungsethik).
METHODOLOGICAL ISSUES: ANTI-POSITIVIST STANCE
Weber's rejection of values rooted in religions and quasi-supernatural ideas as the basis for his sociology, and his focus upon empirical reality and subjective meaning, led him to oppose unequivocally themany attempts at the end of the nineteenth century to define the aimof science as the creation of new-constellations of values appropriate to the industrial society.
He denied the possibility that science could serve as the source of values, for an ``objective science'' cannot exist. Even thehope for sucha science is adeception, one rooted ultimately in a bygoneworld of unified values. It has nowbecome clear,Weber asserts, that each epoch perhaps even every generation or decade calls forth its own``culturallysignificantvalue-ideas.'' Invariably,heinsists,our observations of empirical reality take place in reference to these. The empirical ground upon which science is based ``changes'' continually (seeWeber, 1949, pp. 72-8).
This unavoidable ``value-relevance'' (Wertbeziehung) of our observations always renders certain events and occurrences visible to us and occludes others. Only some ``realities'' are thrown intorelief by the culturally significant values of any specific age: those today, for example, are embodied by terms such as equality for all, freedom, individual rights, equal opportunity, globalization, etc., and dichotomies such as capitalism/socialism and First World/Third World. The specific vantage points dominant in any era allow its inhabitants to see only a selected slice of the past and present. Consequently, our search today for knowledge cannot take the same form ± as a search for concealed absolutes ± as in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, for the ultimate precondition for such a quest no longer exists: a widespread belief in a set of unified values. For the same reason, ourknowledge canno longerbeanchored in the quasi-supernatural ideas of the nineteenth century. Furthermore, owing to the invariably perspectival character of our knowledge, we can hope neither to find ``general laws'' in history nor to write history as Ranke proposed: ``as it actually occurred.'' Thus, in the famous ``debate over methods'' (Methodenstreit), Weber opposed both the ``nomothetic'' position held by Menger the formulation of general laws must be the task of the social sciences ± and the ``ideographic'' position held by Schmoller's ``historical school of economics'': to offer exact and full descriptions of specific casesmust be the goal. Weber admonished vehemently and repeatedly that all attempts to create values through science must nowbe seen as illusions.
The multi-causality stance:
The search for a single ``guiding hand,'' whether that of a monotheistic God, AdamSmith's ``laws of themarket,'' or KarlMarx's class conflict as the ``engine of history,'' remained anathema to Weber. He perceived all such overarching forces as residuals of now-antiquatedworldviews characterizedby religious and quasi-religious ideas. Indeed, Weber's adamant refusal to define the ``general laws of social life'' (Menger), the ``stages of historical development'' (Buecher, Marx), or Evolution4 as the central point of departure for his causal explanations paved theway for a focus upon empirical reality and subjective meaning; as importantly, it also provided the underlyingprecondition for his embrace of radicallymulticausal modes of explanation. Havingabandoned reference to all forms of ``necessity'' as history's movingforce, the innumerable actions and beliefs of persons rose to the fore inWeber's sociology as the causal forces that determine the contours of past and present. His empirical research c onvinced him that historical change required on the one hand great charismatic figures and on the other hand ``carrier'' strata and organizations.Moreover, these carrierswere, for example, at times political and rulership organizations, at other times status groups or economic organizations, and at still other times religious organizations. His investigations across a vast palette of themes, epochs, and civilizations yielded in this respect a clear conclusion: rather than a causal ``restingpoint,'' he found only continuous movement across, above all, political, economic, religious, legal, social strata, and familial groupings (see, for example, Weber, 1968, p. 341). Without powerful carriers, evenHegel's ``spirit'' or Ranke's ChristianHumanism could not move history; nor could ideas, world views, or the problemof unjust suffering.
The idea of social action (Not social fact): intended subjectification
Weber's sociologydeparts froma critiqueof all approaches that viewsocieties as quasi-organic, holistic units and their separate ``parts'' as components fully integrated into a larger ``system'' of objective structures. All organic schools of thought understand the larger collectivitywithinwhich the individual acts as a delimited structure, and social action and interaction as merely particularistic expressions of this ``whole.'' German romantic and conservative thought at the beginning of the nineteenth century, as well as Comte andDurkheim in France, fall within this tradition. Organic theories generally postulate a degree of societal integration questionable toWeber. He never viewed societies as clearly formed and closed entities with delineated boundaries. Seeingthe likelihood for fragmentation, tension, open conflict, and theuseof power,Weber rejects thenotion that societies can be st understood as unified. Moreover, accordingto him, if organic theories are utilized other than as a means of facilitatingpreliminary conceptualization, a high risk of ``reification'' arises: ``society'' and the ``organicwhole'' may become viewed as the fundamental unit of analysis rather than the individual (Weber, 1968, pp. 14±15). Thismay occur to such an extent that persons are incorrectly understood as simply the ``socializedproducts'' of societal forces.Weber argues, to the contrary, that persons are capable of interpreting their social realities, bestowing``subjective meaning'' upon certain aspects of it, and initiating independent action: ``[We are] cultural beings endowedwith the capacity andwill to take a deliberate stand toward theworld and to lend itmeaning (Sinn)'' (Weber, 1949, p. 81; translation altered, original emphasis). There is, to Weber, a realm of freedomand choice.
TERPRETIVE UNDERSTANDING AND SUBJECTIVE MEANING At the core of Weber's sociology stands the attempt by sociologists to ``understand interpretively'' (verstehen) the ways in which persons view their own ``social action.'' This subjectively meaningful action constitutes the social scientist's concern rather than merely reactive or imitative behavior (as occurs, for example, when persons in a crowd expect rain and simultaneously open their umbrellas). Social action, he insists, involves both a ``meaningful orientation of behavior to that of others'' and the individual's interpretive, or reflective, aspect (Weber, 1968, pp. 22±4). Persons are social, but not only social. They are endowedwith the ability to actively interpret situations, interactions, and relationships by reference to values, beliefs, interests, emotions, power, authority, law, customs, conventions, habits, ideas, etc. Sociology. . . is a science that offers an interpretive understanding of social action and, indoingso, provides acausal explanationof its courseand its effects.We shall speak of ``action'' insofar as the actingindividual attaches a subjectivemeaning to his behavior be it overt or covert, omission or acquiescence. Action is ``social'' insofar as its subjective meaningtakes account of the behavior of others and is
thereby oriented in its course. (Weber, 1968, p. 4; translation altered, original emphasis) This central position of meaningful action separates Weber's sociology fundamentally fromall behaviorist, structuralist, and positivist schools. Sociologists can understand the meaningfulness of others' action either through ``rational understanding,'' which involves an intellectual grasp of the meaningactors attribute to their actions, or through ``intuitive,'' or ``empathic,'' understanding, which refers to the comprehension of ``the emotional context in
which the action [takes] place'' (Weber, 1968, p. 5). Thus, for example, the motivation behind the orientation of civil servants to impersonal statutes and laws can be understood by the sociologist, as can the motivation behind the orientation of good friends to one another. To the extent that this occurs, a causal explanationof action,Weber argues, is provided. Because it attends alone to external activity, stimulus/response behaviorismneglects the issues foremost to Weber: the diversepossiblemotives behindanobservable activity, the manner in which the subjective meaningfulness of the act varies accordingly, and the significant differences that follow in respect to action.
THE FOUR TYPES OF SOCIALACTION AND SUBJECTIVE MEANING Social action can be best conceptualized as involvingone of ``four types ofmeaningful action'': means±end rational, value-rational, affectual, or traditional action. Each type refers to the ideal typical (see below) motivational orientations of actors. Weber defines action as means±end rational (zweckrational) ``when the end, the means, and the secondary results are all rationally taken into account and weighed. This involves a rational consideration of alternativemeans to the end, of the relations of the end to the secondary consequences, and finally of the relative importance of different possible ends.'' Similarly, persons possess the capacity to act value-rationally, even though this type of action has appeared empirically in its pure form only rarely. It exists when social action is ``determined by a conscious belief in the value for its own sake of some ethical, aesthetic, religious, or other formof behavior, independently of its prospects of
success. . . .Value-rational action always involves `commands' or `demands' which, in the actor's opinion, are binding(verbindlich) on him.'' Notions of honor involve values, as do salvation doctrines. In addition, ``determined by the actor's specific affects and feelingstates,'' affectual action, which involves an emotional attachment, must be distinguished clearly from value-rational and meansendrational action.Traditional action, ``determinedby ingrained habituation'' and age-old customs, and often merely a routine reaction to common stimuli, stands on the borderline of subjectively meaningful action. Taken together, these constructs ± the ``types of social action'' ± establish an analytic base that assists conceptualizationof diffuseaction-orientations.Rational action in reference to interests constitutes, toWeber, onlyonepossiblewayof orienting action (seeWeber, 1968, pp. 24±6). Each typeofmeaningful actioncanbe found inall epochs andall civilizations. The social action of even ``primitive'' peoples may be means±end rational and value-rational (see, for example, Weber, 1968, pp. 400, 422±6), and modern man is not endowed with a greater inherent capacity for either type of action thanhis ancestors.However, as a result of identifiable social forces, some epochs may tend predominantly to call forth a particular type of action. Weber is convinced that, by utilizing the types of social action typology, sociologists can understand ± and hence explain causally even the ways in which the social actionof persons livingin radically different cultures is subjectivelymeaningful.
Assuming that, as a result of intensive study, researchers have succeeded in becoming thoroughly familiarwith a particular social context and thus capable imagining themselves ``into'' it, an assessment can be made of the extent to which actions approximate one of the types of social action. The subjective meaningfulness of the motives for these actions ± whether means±end rational, value-rational, traditional, or affectual ± then becomes understandable.
Weber's ``interpretive sociology'' in this manner seeks to help sociologists to comprehend social action in terms of the actor's own intentions. This foundational emphasis uponapluralismofmotives distinguishes Weber's sociology unequivocally from all schools of behaviorism, all approaches that place social structures at the forefront (for example, those rooted inDurkheim's ``social facts'' orMarx's classes), andall positivist approaches that endownorms, roles, and ruleswithadeterminingpower over persons. Evenwhen social action seems tightly bonded to a social structure, a heterogeneity of motives must be recognized. A great array of motives within a single ``external form'' is, Weber argues, both analytically and empirically possible and sociologically significant. The subjective meaningfulness of action varies even within the firm organizational structure of the political or religious sect. Yet just this reasoning leads Weber toaconundrum: forwhat subjective reasonsdopersonsorient their social action in common, such that demarcated groupings are formulated? This question assumes a great urgency, for he is convinced that the absence of such orientations ± toward, for example, the state, bureaucratic organizations, traditions, andvalues ±means that ``structures'' cease toexist.The state, for example, in the end is nothing more than the patterned action-orientations of its politicians, judges, police, civil servants, etc.
Far from formal methodological postulates only, these foundational distinctions directly anchor Weber's empirical studies, as will become apparent. The investigation of the subjective meaning of action stood at the very center, for example, of his famous ``Protestant ethic thesis.''YetWeber engaged in a massive empirical effort to understand the subjectivemeaningof ``the other'' on its own terms throughout his comparative-historical sociology, whether, for example, that of the Confucian scholar, the Buddhist monk, the Hindu Brahmin, the prophets of theOld Testament, feudal rulers, monarchs and kings, or functionaries in bureaucracies. For what subjective reasons do people render obedience to authority? Weber wished to understand the diverse ways in which persons subjectively ``make sense'' of their activities. He argued that sociologists should attempt to do so even when the subjective ``meaning-complexes'' they discover seem strange or odd to them.
THE PROTESTANT ETHIC AND SPIRIT OF CAPITALISM
The Original cover of the book
The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism (PESC) ([1904-1905]1930) addressed an association that had been long recognized but hitherto unexplained. Capitalistic enterprises appeared to flourish in Protestant inhabited areas, more so than in Catholic areas. This statistical evidence was of the same nature as Durkheim’s observation that suicide rates were lower in Catholic areas and countries, compared with Protestant regions. Given these facts, how can the respective issues be explained? For Durkheim, the explanation resided in the suicidogenic forces that different levels of collective consciousness generated; forces generated at the level of society act as external forces on people’s individual lives. For Weber, the emergence of the distinctive form of modern capitalism, as systematically rational, is an effect or repercussion of individually held meanings. The everyday behaviour of Puritans is the outcome of a religiously determined psychology where individuals look inward to their conscience as a regulator of their actions. Puritanism, in its various forms—and Weber provides historical case studies of Calvinism, Pietism, Methodism, and the Baptist sects—is a religion of reform that constantly admonishes the individual to control and monitor his or her conduct. Puritanism abolished the mediation of church and confession, made accessible sacred texts in the vernacular language, and placed an enormous responsibility on each person to remain pure according to the salvation message of the sacred text. The case of Calvinism is psychologically more complex, for here, actions alone do not suffice to secure salvation and avoid damnation. Calvinist beliefs posited the idea of predestination: that an unknown and unseen god has already determined the salvation of each individual prior to his or her birth. The resulting salvation anxiety was allayed by acting as if one had been chosen (predestined) to go to heaven.
Weber’s social-cultural theory identifies an irrational belief held with great intensity as a crucial causal factor in the development of modern capitalism. These beliefs more generally, cultural meanings—result in a systematic style of life. The Puritans avoid pleasure, they work hard, they save their money. Weber refers to this as “inner-worldly” asceticism. A lifestyle as austere and pleasure averse as the Puritans involves training. In Christianity, as well as other religions, asceticism is practised by monks, usually within the closed community of the monastery. Weber terms this “other-worldly” asceticism. Monasteries are cut off from the rest of the world and follow their own regime of disciplined observance. The Puritan lives within the world, carrying out normal social and work activities. Strong religious meanings structure the personality of the Puritan, permitting an ascetic style of life carried on within the world with all its temptations of a more relaxed code of life. The Puritan always is aware of the salvation message. This is his or her “calling” or vocation. Religious beliefs become solidified in ascetic practice, and Weber terms this a style of life (Lebensstil) or a conduct of life (Lebensführung). In a further step in his argument, Weber holds that conduct of life is passed on as a social form, irrespective of its religious origins. He provides the example of the American entrepreneur, scientist, and diplomat, Benjamin Franklin, whose father was a Calvinist. Franklin was secular in his outlook but nevertheless retained the discipline of his upbringing. Indeed, he formulated a kind of lifestyle handbook that provided an instruction manual on how to get on in business and life by improving one’s ability to work. Once this attitude or mentality becomes generalized through a population (here a Protestant population), the social scientist can then frame the thesis that such a mentality will
have significant economic consequences. In causal terms, Weber frames this as codetermination. There already existed in Northwestern Europe fairly advanced forms of capitalist trade, banking, technology, and legal frameworks. Puritanism did not produce capitalism “out of a hat”;
Puritan sects that settled in Patagonia did not produce an economic miracle; they remained farmers. But where this systematic, sober, rational approach to life existed in conjunction with an already developing capitalism, then to use Weber’s phrase there was an “elective affinity” between the two. There occurred a sort of chemical bonding, to produce the distinctively new compound, modern rational capitalism.
DEAL TYPES AS ``STANDARDS'' As noted, the ideal types of E&S, as conceptual tools, ``document'' patterned social action and demarcate its ``location.'' In addition, when utilized as ``standards'' against which the patterns of action under investigation can be compared and ``measured,'' they enable the clear definition of this action. A vast diversity of ideal types of varying scope are formulated in this analytic treatise (for example, feudalism, patriarchalism,
missionary prophecy, priests, the Oriental city, natural law, canon law, asceticism, warriors). Perhaps most influential in sociology have been two of Weber's ideal types: ``types of rulership'' and ``status groups.'' Rather than a ``social fact,'' an expression of natural laws, or an inevitable
culmination of historical evolutionary forces, rulership implies for Weber nothingmore than theprobability that adefinablegroupof individuals (as a result of variousmotives)will orient their social action togiving commands, that another definable groupwill direct their social action toobedience (as a result of various motives), and that commands are in fact, to a sociologically relevant degree, carriedout. In his famous formulation, rulership refers ``to the probability that
a command with a given specific content will be obeyed by a given group of persons'' (ibid., p. 53). Itmay be ascribed to diverse individuals, such as judges, civil servants, bankers, craftsmen, and tribal chiefs. All exercise rulershipwherever obedience is claimed and in fact called forth (ibid., pp. 941, 948). Weber's major concern focuses upon legitimate rulership, or the situation in
which a degree of legitimacy is attributed to the rulership relationship. For this reason, obedience, importantly, acquires avoluntaryelement.Whether anchored in unreflective habit or custom, an emotional attachment to the ruler or fear of him, values or ideals, or purelymaterial interests anda calculationof advantage, a necessary minimum of compliance, unlike sheer power, always exists in the case of legitimate rulership (ibid., p. 212).
To Weber, the establishment of a rulership relationship's legitimacy through material interests alone is likely to be relatively unstable. On the other hand, purely value-rational and affectual motives can be decisive only in ``extraordinary'' circumstances. Amixture of customand ameans±end rational calculation of material interest generally provides the ``motive for compliance'' in everyday situations (ibid., pp. 213±14, 943).Yet, inhis analysis, thesemotives alonenever form a reliable and enduringfoundation for rulership. A further element at least aminimumbelief on thepart of the ruled in the legitimacyof the rulership is crucial: ``In general, it should be kept clearly inmind that the basis of every rulership, and correspondingly of every kindofwillingness toobey, is a belief, a belief by virtue of which persons exercisingrulership are lent prestige'' (ibid., p.263).26 In essence, rulers seek to convince themselves of their right to exercise rulership and attempt to implant the notion amongthe ruled that this right is deserved. If they succeed, awillingness to obey arises that secures their rule far more effectively thandoes force or power. The character of the typical belief, or claim to legitimacy, provides Weber with the criteria he utilizes to classify the major types of legitimate rulership into ideal-typical models (see ibid., p. 953).
Why do people obey authority? From the vantage point of his broad-ranging comparative and historical studies, Weber argues that all ruling powers, ``profaneor religious, political aswell asunpolitical,'' canbeunderstoodas appealing to rational-legal, traditional,orcharismatic principles of legitimation. What typical beliefs establish the ``validity'' of these three ``pure types'' of legitimate rulership?
1 Rational grounds ± resting on a belief in the legality of enacted rules and the right of those elevated torulershipunder suchrules to issue commands(legal rulership).
2 Traditional grounds ± resting on an established belief in the sanctity of immemorial traditions and the legitimacy of those exercising rulership under them (traditional rulership). Charismatic grounds ± resting on devotion to the exceptional sanctity, heroism, or exemplarycharacterof an individual person, andof the orders revealed or ordained by him(charismatic rulership) (ibid., p. 215). Under the motto, ``it is written ± but I say unto you,'' this mission opposes all existingvalues, customs, laws, rules, and traditions (ibid., pp. 1115±17). These issues define the ``rulership'' domain and distinguish action oriented to it from action in the other domains.
Weber'swidelydiscussedmodel of ``rational-legal'' rulership is manifest in the bureaucratic organization. In industrial societies, heargues, this typeof rulership becomes all-pervasive. It is legitimated by a belief in properly enacted rules and ``objective'' modes of procedure, rather than by persons or reference to the legitimacy of traditions established in the past. Thus, bureaucratic administration stands in radical opposition to both charismatic rulership and all types of traditional rulership (patriarchalism, feudalism, patrimonialism). The subsumption of diverse social action under stable prescriptions, regulations, and rules accounts for its comparative technical superiority vis-aÁ-vis traditional and charismatic rulership. Rights andduties are defined and, by virtue of a position in a hierarchy, empower ``a superior'' to issue commands and expect obedience:
``Orders are given in the name of an impersonal norm rather than in the name of apersonal authority; andeven the givingof a commandconstitutes obedience toward a norm rather than an arbitrary freedom, favor, or privilege'' (Weber, 1946e, pp. 294±5; see also 1968, pp. 229, 945, 1012).
Moreover, in a systematic fashion, bureaucracies orient labor toward general rules and regulations.Work occurs in offices, on a full-time basis, and involves the formulation of written records and their preservation; employees are appointed and rewarded with a regular salary as well as the prospect for advancement. And work procedures maximize calculation: through an assessment of single cases in reference toa set of abstract rules or aweighingofmeans and ends, decisions can be rendered in a predictable and expedient manner. Compared to the traditional forms of rulership, such decisions occur with less equivocation: arenas of jurisdiction, task specialization, competence, and responsibility for eachemployeearedelimitedon the onehand by administrative regulations and on the other hand by technical training. This technical training
canbemost effectivelyutilizednot onlywhen realms of competence are defined, but also if an unquestioned hierarchy of command reigns inwhich ``each lower office is under the control and supervisionof ahigher one.'' Rulership, including a superior's access to coercive means, is distributed in a stable manner and articulated by regulations (Weber, 1968, pp. 223, 975). Weber's model emphasizes that a ``formal rationality'' reigns in bureaucracies: problems are solved and decisions made by the systematic and continuous means end rational orientation of action to abstract rules, which are enacted through discursively analyzable procedures and applied universally. Because decision-making and the giving of commands takes place in direct reference to these rules, bureaucracies typically imply compared to the traditional and charismatic types of rulership± the reduction of affectual and traditional action.
Many of Weber's ideal types not only facilitate the clear conceptualization of specific cases or developments, but alsodelineate hypotheses that canbe testedagainst specific cases and developments ± indeed, in such a manner that discrete and significant causal regularities of social action can be isolated. Ideal types are employed inE&S as hypothesis-formingmodels in fourmajor ways. Their dynamic character is the focus of Weber's first type of model. Rather than beingstatic, ideal types are constituted from an array of regular action orientations. Relationships ±delimited, empirically testable hypotheses among these action-orientations are implied. Second, contextual models that articulate hypotheses regarding the impact of specific social contexts upon patterned action are constructed in E&S. Third, when examined in reference to one another, ideal types may articulate logical interactions of patterned, meaningful action. Hypotheses regarding ``elective affinity'' and ``antagonism'' relationships across ideal types abound in E&S. Fourth, Weber utilizes ideal types to chart analytic developments. Each model hypothesizes a course of regular action, or a ``developmental path.''
He insists that the typical immersion of sociologists deeply in empirical realities requires such constructs if significant causal action-orientations are to be identified, all themore owingto the fundamental character of empirical reality ± for him, an unending flow of events and happenings ± and the continuous danger that all causal inquiry all too easily becomes mired in an endless description-based regression. By constructing arrays of models in E&S that conceptualize patterned, meaningful action, Weber aims to draw sociology away from an exclusive focus upon delineated social problems on the one hand and historical narrative on the other hand.Nonetheless, he steadfastly avoids the other side of the spectrum; groundedempirically, hismodelsnevermove to the level of broad, diffuse generalizations. Rather, these research tools offer limitedhypotheses that can be tested against specific cases and developments. ToWeber, unique to the sociological enterprise is always a back and forthmovement between conceptualization ± the formulation of models and theoretical frameworks ± and the detailed investigationof empirical cases anddevelopments. If thegoal of offering causal explanations of the ``historical individual'' is to be realized, both the empirically particular and conceptual generalization are indispensable.
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