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(2009) Plural action, Dordrecht, Springer.


Hans Bernhard Schmid

pp. 215-244

Max Weber's status in social science in general, and in German social theory in particular, is ambivalent. On the one hand, his importance as one of the foremost classics of social theory and social science is uncontested. On the other hand, however, he is routinely accused of relying on a skewed methodology. Especially, Weber's claims concerning the action theoretic foundations of sociology have been criticized. BecauseWeber's action theory is at the very heart of his work, and cannot be separated from his sociological theory, this is no insignificant charge.In the development of German social theory, particularly during the last decades of the twentieth century, this diagnosis has played a crucial role. During this time, the field was divided into two camps, and the interpretation of Weber's work served as one of the battlegrounds for their controversies. The first camp's label was sociological Systems Theory, with the later Talcott Parsons and Niklas Luhmann as its main protagonists. The second camp was gathered around the label "Critical Theory", with Jürgen Habermas as its theoretician-in-chief. Both camps claimed to be able to provide a solution to the problem of Weber's action theory, while accusing the other camp of failing miserably at this task.

Publication details

DOI: 10.1007/978-90-481-2437-4_12

Full citation:

Schmid, H.B. (2009)., Consensus, in H. B. Schmid, Plural action, Dordrecht, Springer, pp. 215-244.

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