Max Weber (1864–1920)

Max Weber (1864–1920) was a German philosopher, historian, and political economist. Weber’s ideas along with those of Karl Marx (1818–1883) and Émile Durkheim (1858–1917) played a significant role in the development and growth of the social sciences.  Weber advocated research that was value free or unencumbered by the researchers own views. However, Weber understood that social behavior did not fit precise measures like time and temperature, thus he advocated using versthen (German for “understanding” or “insight”) to develop the ability to see the world as other do. Using versthen. Weber studied the meanings and purposes that individuals attach to their own actions in a non-empirical manner called antipositivism. Weber’s most well known work combined the study of religion and economics in the The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism (1905).

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  • “According to Weber, sociology should be value free and people should become more aware of the role that bureaucracies play in daily life” (Kendall 2006:37).

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Kendall, Diane. 2006. Sociology in Our Times: The Essentials. 5th ed. Belmont, CA: Thomson/Wadsworth.



Works Consulted

Abercrombie, Nicholas, Stephen Hill, and Bryan Turner. 2006. The Penguin Dictionary of Sociology. 5th ed. London: Penguin.

The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language. 5th ed. 2011. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

Bruce, Steve, and Steven Yearley. 2006. The SAGE Dictionary of Sociology. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE.

Jary, David, and Julia Jary. 2000. Collins Dictionary of Sociology. 3rd ed. Glasgow, Scotland: HarperCollins.

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Princeton University. 2010. WordNet. (

Random House Webster’s College Dictionary. 1997. New York: Random House.

Scott, John, and Gordon Marshall. 2005. A Dictionary of Sociology. New York: Oxford University Press.

Turner, Bryan S., ed. 2006. The Cambridge Dictionary of Sociology. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Wikipedia contributors. (N.d.) Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation. (

Wikipedia contributors. (N.d.) Wiktionary, The Free Dictionary. Wikimedia Foundation. (


How to Cite the Definition of Max Weber

ASA – American Sociological Association (5th edition)

Bell, Kenton, ed. 2013. “Max Weber.” In Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Retrieved July 18, 2019 (

APA – American Psychological Association (6th edition)

Max Weber. (2013). In K. Bell (Ed.), Open education sociology dictionary. Retrieved from

Chicago/Turabian: Author-Date – Chicago Manual of Style (16th edition)

Bell, Kenton, ed. 2013. “Max Weber.” In Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Accessed July 18, 2019.

MLA – Modern Language Association (7th edition)

“Max Weber.” Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Ed. Kenton Bell. 2013. Web. 18 Jul. 2019. <>.