Max Weber (1864–1920)
The subject matter of Weber’s sociology was the origins of modern capitalism and the nature of modern capitalist society. Weber inquired into the various factors that accounted for the emergence of capitalism in the West and also theorized about the factors that impeded the development of capitalism in non-Western societies. Weber’s much cited and discussed Protestant ethic thesis was his attempt to understand the rise of capitalism in terms of the impact of Protestantism on the development of a specific type of work ethic that facilitated capital accumulation. At a deeper abstract level, Weber’s concern was with the pervasiveness of a certain form of rationality throughout the institutions of modern society.