Comparing Weber's and Durkheim's Methodological Contributions to Sociology

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Comparing Weber's and Durkheim's Methodological Contributions to Sociology

This essay will be examining the methodological contributions both Durkheim and Weber have provided to sociology. It will briefly observe what Positivists are and how their methodologies influence and affect their research. It will also consider what interpretative sociology is, and why their type of methodology is used when carrying out research. It will analyse both Durkheim's study of Suicide and also Webers study of The Protestant work ethic, and hopefully establish how each methodology was used for each particular piece of research, and why.

Emile Durkhiem, in sociology terminology is considered to be a
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Classical Social Theory. 1997:26)

Max Weber, born in 1868 in Germany, was the son of a Lawyer and was brought up in a household where Religon played a major role in his life. After attending Heidelberg University, he completed his first "Sociological" work on "The Situation of Farm Workers in Germany". From around 1903, he completed most of his Sociological writings, this included the famous "Protestant work ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism". Weber even taught himself Russian, in order for him to observe and study the Russian Revolution. This was, in itself putting 'Verstehen' into practice. Something which many Sociologists, especially Positivists such as Comte, disagreed about. Verstehen is when you imagine yourself to be in the position of the person or people who's behaviour you are wishing to explain.

Weber famously defined the term "Sociology" as a science which attempts the interpretive understanding of social action in order thereby to arrive at a causal explanation of its course and effects. In "action" is included all human behaviour when and insofar as the acting individual attaches a subjective meaning to it. Action in this sense may be either obvious or purely hidden or

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