Max Weber on India Key References

Screen Shot 2017-10-28 at 17.18.37At the bottom of one of my shelves, unopened since undergraduate honours days, I have Max Weber’s book on Religions of India. got to wondering recently how he did this research, so I am going to explore. I have the Merton and the Mills, I have Reinhard Bendix, Max Weber: an intellectual portrait, University of California Press, 1977 and I plan to reread The Cambridge Companion as I had bookmarked the Mike Love essay in that called “Weber’s Orient’ where he promises, but does not I think deliver, the sort of explanation I want: ‘The grand theme of rationalisation of culture with all the ramifications this entails thus in the end is the real focus of The Collected Essays on the Sociology of Religion, a monumental but unfinished work’ (Love, in Turner and Regis 2000). I also just got the editor of the Cambridge Companion, Stephen Turner’s book with Regis Factor: Max Weber: The Lawyer as Thinker and the first pages of that look very promising. Given the recent family court stuff I have been going through, it will be good to read something other than a how to guide about the law. Though maybe there is nothing but guides (the cover of Turner’s book was worth seeing for ideas for my own next, I nicked it for this post, and linked to the book so as to be fair). When I was a visiting fellow for a year in Heidelberg you could just see Weber’s old house across the river from the Shiffsgasse where I lived – I think it was a language school by then (late 90s). My hope is that there will be a way to link up the lawyer’s interest in sociology and India with the very evidently habitual thought in Marx where nearly every important move in of the argument in Capital is then followed by an India-focussed example, reference, or graphic-poetic aside – the bleached bones of weavers on the plains, the hideous pagan idol drinking nectar in the skulls of the slain.

What are the other things I ought to must read?

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2 thoughts on “Max Weber on India Key References

  1. Weber is a tough one. As Brian Morris used to teach, he couldn’t write so everything we have comes from his students who edited his writings. Many of his ideas, including the grant Protestantism scheme, are to say at least vague. And so is his relationship to Marx, seen sometimes opposite/ other times complementary. If you get the time check The Weber Thesis and South East Asia by Syed Hussein Alatas (1963). It is not new, but I think it brings forward an interesting comparison between Islam and capitalism in South East Asia. You can read it here: http://www.persee.fr/doc/assr_0003-9659_1963_num_15_1_1719
    Best, M

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    1. Great, thanks for that. All I can really remember about Weber was the Ideal Types but somehow I remember that all very well (I think). The point of welt rational and blah rational has escaped me these days, as also the Protestant stuff, though I liked Protestant Ethnic by Rey Chow.

      And thanks heaps for the Alatas ref. He writes: ‘Weber examined many other Civilizations’. I am interested in how. Did he have a wodge of old tomes out from the library and carry them up to the Max Bar and sit there with his feet on a stool reading them, or was he a fan of Le Journal Cafe, though last time I was in HD that had changed…

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