chapter  11
31 Pages

Sociology and the Science of ‘Man’

Over the last decade, there has been a quiet revolution in the interpretation of the sociology of Max Weber. The key to these changes has been the disappearance of the obsession with the theme of Marx versus Weber. Paradoxically, the issue of an apparent contradiction between Marxist and Weberian historical sociology was most dominant in English-speaking sociology where the legacy of Althusserian structuralist Marxism was dominant. The gradual erosion in the importance of French Marxism over English social science paved the way for more interesting and more relevant interpretations of Weber. There is now a greater appreciation of the range and depth of Weberian sociology. These intellectual changes have been further enhanced by the political erosion of organized Communism in Eastern Europe and in the Soviet Union in the late 1980s. Weber’s critique of the problems of socialism as an approach to the management of the economy looks increasingly relevant and insightful (Holton and Turner 1989).