INTRODUCTION-MAX WEBER’S CENTRAL QUESTIONS Within conventional sociology, particularly within the English-speaking tradition, Max Weber’s sociology as a whole has often been interpreted as an account of the rise of rational capitalism within the occidental world. The core of the debate between Marxist and Weberian sociology was, for example, dominated in the 1960s and 1970s by the dispute over Weber’s causal analysis of the origins of capitalist accumulation (Marshall 1982). It is now clear that this characterization of Weber’s primary sociological concerns is too narrow to provide an adequate and theoretically sophisticated perspective upon Weber’s sociological corpus. The earlier Protestant ethic thesis debate has shifted towards a broader conceptualization of the notion of rationalization as Weber’s primary interest (Brubaker 1984; Schluchter 1981). The rationalization perspective has been important in enlarging the sociological understanding of Weber’s interest in the general features of an industrial civilization; rationalization is in fact a process made up of a variety of processes such as secularization, intellectualization, and the systematization of the everyday world. Rationalization created the conditions for a stable administrative system, a systematic framework of legal relations, the dominance of natural science within the intellectual understanding of reality, and the spread of a variety of systems of human control and regularization. It can be argued that this very broad conception of rationalization means that it is possible to subsume Marxist theories of alienation and more general theories of civilization within the one sociological umbrella of the rationalization process (Turner 1985). The focus of rationalization has had the useful effect of shifting the general character of the Marx-Weber debate away from its limited, narrow, and conventional 1960s framework (Wiley 1987). The Protestant ethic dispute was essentially an historian’s problematic; the rationalization thesis is more genuinely an issue of sociological importance, although it clearly embraces disputes in, for example, literary studies, musicology, and cultural history.