Theories of religion - Weber and Weberian approaches

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Key ideas

  • Weber believed that ideas, including religous ideas, had an independant effect on social and economic change
  • To demonstrate this, he examined the relationship between new religous ideas and the development of the capitalist system of production
  • Specifically he argued thatthe ethical orientation of Calvinist Protestants led to practices that gave impetus to capitalist modes of production - the 'spirit of capitalism' 
  • Catholic culture was portrayed as being concerned with conspicuous consumption, whereas Protestantism encouraged a frugal frame of mind in which income was ploughed back into production rather than spent on luxuries
  • Therefore there was an elective affinity


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