chapter  10
38 Pages

‘The Vanishing Mediator: Narrative Structure in Max Weber’, New German Critique, 1, pp. 52—89

T he P rotestan t E th ic aims at demonstrating the intimate relationship between the rationalization of modern life (with its resultant E ntza u b eru n g or desacralization, its transformation into an organized and disciplined market system) and the development of the Lutheran or Calvinistic notion of a B e r u f or religiously sanctioned vocation to live ascetically w ithin the world itself. The forces of religious sanction and of secularization govern those constitutive elements of human activity which are ends and means respectively, so that, following the procedure outlined above, we may distribute the basic terms and functions in Weber’s thesis as follows:

22. “Not only is a developed sense of responsibility absolutely indispensable, but in general also an attitude which, at least during working hours, is freed from continual calculations of how the customary wage may be earned with a maximum of comfort and a minimum of exertion. Labor must, on the contrary, be performed as if it were an absolute end in itself, a calling [Beruf\. But such an attitude is by no means a product of nature. It cannot be evoked by low wages or high ones alone, but can only be the product of a long and arduous process of education.” The Protestant E thic , pp. 61-62.