Religion can lead to social change
- Analysis of relationships between religion and development of capitalism
- Study of world religions (Confucianism and Hinduism particularly) and how they may have hindered development of capitalism
- Study of charisma and its importance in initiating process of social change
Protestantism and Capitalism
Whereas Marx believes change is brought about by structural causes (technology, distribution of wealth etc), Weber believes that ideas can be result and cause of change.
Process of social change involves structural change and changes in ideas, without one causing the other.
Relationship between religion and capitalism:
- Spirit of Capitalism
- Religious salvation
Certain religious beliefs and practices played crucial role in development of capitalism.
Few thinkers took this perspective seriously before Weber: Religion radical force for social change rather than conservative force.
Weber and Marx agree on definition of capitalism
Protestant Work Ethic
CALVIN: People pre-chosen as to whether they go to heaven or not.
It was believed by followers of Calvin that one could not do good works or perform acts of faith to assure your place in heaven.
You were either among the "elect" (in which case you were in) or you were not. However, wealth was taken as a sign (by you and your neighbours) that you were one of the God's elect, thereby providing encouragement for people to acquire wealth.
The protestant ethic therefore provided religious sanctions that fostered a spirit of rigorous discipline, encouraging men to apply themselves rationally to acquire wealth.
Religion allowed capitalism to develop, as it doesn't discourage it.
Weber doesn't think Protestantism caused capitalism.
LUTHER: All activities as religious as the next as long as they are carried out with seriousness and hard work.
Links with spirit of capitalism protestant work ethic - hard work receives religious justification in the form of protestant ethic.
Churches don't usually represent the poor, underprivileged.
Sects appeal more to poorer groups.
Charismatic people begin to tear away into sectarian from churches.
WEBER: unstable because of possibilities of failure, leader may die etc.
They can choose by heredity who is next leader OR Routinization new leader must have criteria/qualifications/experience.