Comparing Marx and Weber Assignment: Each of you should write a couple of pages, identifying important comparisons between the two theorists. The comparisons should concern important analytical themes or styles of theorizing--the kinds of issues discussed in the "handouts" meant to guide your group papers and those raised in class. You may focus on one comparison or identify several. For each, try to state the issue, indicate why the issue matters, give an account of what is similar and different in how Marx and Weber approach the theme, and provide some analytic interpretation of the theoretical sources and consequences of the differences.
The following lists all responses to the assignment in the order in which they were posted.
================= Danielle Lindemann ==================
Marx v. Weber: The Role of Historical Analysis In our first paper on The Protestant Ethic, my group wrote in our thesis paragraph: "Unlike Marx, Weber does not intend to pursue a path of determinism; instead, the goal of his project is to understand the spirit of capitalism within a historical context." But this statement is not entirely accurate. The difference between Weber's and Marx's theoretical frameworks is not a case of historical versus contemporary analysis. Both theorists pursue diachronic analyses, attempting to understand the connection between modern capitalism and specific historical circumstances. Weber, writing as an historical sociologist, theorizes in PE that the cultural values embroiled in the American Protestant ethic, as embodied by seventh-century Puritans, accelerated the development of modern capitalism. He traces this ethic into the 18th century, when, exemplified by figures like Ben Franklin, the ethic became stripped of its connection to salvation and the striving for money became "understood completely as an end in itself." (PE, 17) Finally, in Weber's contemporary times, capitalism (divested of its linkage to Protestant values) manifested...