Pierre Bourdieu on the Verstehende Soziologie of Max Weber

In: Method & Theory in the Study of Religion


Pierre Bourdieu was influenced by and critical of the work of Max Weber. In articles written in the early 1970's on Weber's analysis of prophets and priests in ancient Judaism, Bourdieu questioned key elements of Weber's verstehende soziologie including his predecessor's privileging of the conceptual over the non-conceptual in the understanding of human behavior and utilization of the ideal type "charisma." Bourdieu, at the same time, extended Weber's work on religious specialists and the evolution of the religious field in the West. In closing, I compare Bourdieu's advice to the Weberian sociologist of religion with that offered by Mary Douglas and Jon Elster.

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