chapter  2
17 Pages

Max Weber’s Historical Sociology: a Bibliographical Essay

Although a number of different theoretical traditions compete for intellectual dominance within what can be broadly called ‘the historical sciences’ (Geschichtswissenschaften), in this commentary it is argued that these traditions are still in fact divided between Marxist and Weberian legacies. Having made that claim, this chapter concentrates on recent developments in Weberian historiography to show that many of the conventional divisions between Marxist and Weberian perspectives have largely been eroded. The extent of this erosion can be judged by the symposium on Weber, which was edited by Gneuss and Kocka (1988), and by the exchange between Luciano Pellicani, Guy Oakes and Paul Piccone in Telos, in which it is claimed that the continuing relevance of Weber’s historical sociology has to be understood in the context of both the ‘collapse of Marxist paradigms and the steady decline in prestige of quantitative sociology’ (Piccone 19889:96). Both Marxist and Weberian historiography may be eventually subjected to the same postmodernist critique, which will call into question the possibility of global metanarratives of modernization (Laclau 1988).