Skip to content

Max Weber in the 21st Century: Transdisciplinarity within the Social Sciences

Conference, 27-28 April 2007

The conference ‘Max Weber in the 21st Century’ was the first MWP Conferences, providing a forum for reflection on, and analysis and debate of, the current state of some major issues that have already been raised by pioneer social scientists.

Max Weber, first a lawyer, then an economist and finally a sociologist, was one of the last transdisciplinary social scientists, not least because he was working in an era when the social sciences were not yet strictly differentiated.

He had a strong impact on various disciplines (such as economics, sociology, history, political science and law) on the methodological and theoretical levels. He focused on the explanation and understanding of human action, distinguishing between different types of rationality. He carried out historical-comparative work on world religions, trying to pin down empirically the forces that eventually led to the Western concept of modernity.

Weber recognized that a process of ‘rationalization’ was under way that was leading to capitalism, the bureaucratic state, the natural sciences and the ‘disenchantment’ of the world. However, the roots of Western rationalism were, in Weber’s view, religious, an idea most prominently developed in his essay 'The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism' (1904).

Thus, we asked if Weber’s theses are still relevant, and if so, can they still be used across the disciplines?

The first part of the conference introduced Weber’s life and work and his methodological impact on the social sciences in general.

The second part focused on Weber’s influence on the research agendas of the various social sciences represented in the Max Weber Programme at the EUI, i.e. sociology, political science, law, history and economics.

Programme (.pdf)

Conference programme organized by Max Weber Fellows Frank Adloff and Manuel Borutta

Page last updated on 18 August 2017

Go back to top of the page