Weber’s The Protestant Ethic

Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss Max Weber’s book the Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism. Published in 1905, Weber’s essay proposed that Protestantism had been a significant factor in the emergence of capitalism, making an explicit connection between religious ideas and economic systems. Weber suggested that Calvinism, with its emphasis on personal asceticism and the merits of hard work, had created an ethic which had enabled the success of capitalism in Protestant countries. Weber’s essay has come in for some criticism since he published the work, but is still seen as one of the seminal texts of twentieth-century sociology.

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  • Peter Ghosh No other episodes
    Fellow in History at St Anne's College, Oxford
  • Sam Whimster No other episodes
    Honorary Professor in Sociology at the University of New South Wales
  • Linda Woodhead 2 episodes
    Professor of Sociology of Religion at Lancaster University

Reading list

  • Cultural Contradictions of Capitalism
    Daniel Bell (Basic Books, 1996) Google Books →
  • Max Weber: An Intellectual Portrait
    Reinhard Bendix (University of California Press, 1992) Google Books →
  • A Historian Reads Max Weber: Essays on the Protestant Ethic
    Peter Ghosh (Harrassowitz Verlag, 2008) Google Books →
  • Max Weber: A Biography
    Joachim Radkau (Polity Press, 2011) Google Books →
  • Max Weber in America
    Lawrence A. Scaff (Princeton University Press, 2011) Google Books →
  • Religion and the Rise of Capitalism
    R. H. Tawney (Hesperides Press, 2006) Google Books →
  • Max Weber: A Biography
    Marianne Weber (trans. Harry Zohn) (Transaction Publishers, 2006) Google Books →
  • The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism
    Max Weber (trans. Talcott Parsons) (Routledge, 2001) Google Books →
  • From Max Weber: Essays in Sociology
    Max Weber (Routledge, 2009) Google Books →
  • Understanding Weber
    Sam Whimster (Routledge, 2007) Google Books →
  • Essential Weber: A Reader
    Sam Whimster (ed.) (Routledge, 2003)

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Auto-category: 301 (Sociology and Anthropology)

Hello (First sentence from this episode) Hello. In 1905, the German sociologist Max Weber published an essay suggesting a connection between religion and the spread of capitalism.