Alfred Weber and the Crisis of Culture, 1890–1933 by Colin Loader (auth.)

By Colin Loader (auth.)

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The middle-class anticapitalist movement was motivated by its deep dislike of modern industry and commerce, which, it believed, weakened family life and religious traditions. 13 Both of these approaches contained a cultural, and therefore moral, argument in addition to the economic one. In making the case for the Association’s position, Weber also addressed cultural issues. He insisted that capitalism was compatible with the cultural development of the nation as long as its crasser abuses were eliminated.

46 Ideational studies, which came largely from Weber’s generation of the Historical School, represented the recognition of the fragmentation of the public sphere into many publics, each with its own ideals. Accordingly, practitioners of ideational studies did not separate the sphere of social groups from that of public ideals. They recognized the inner differentiation of the new public and believed that society constituted itself through class energies and the ideas that bore them. One could not remain above these forces, as the discursive coalition claimed to do, but had to participate in them.

It privileged actions of the state over negotiations within civil society. Weber believed that modern market forces were responsible for the prevalence of domestic industry. He detected a clear relationship between the supply of labor and the form of production. When demand for labor exceeded supply, the productive process was more concentrated, the epitome of this form being the factory. When supply exceeded demand, then production forms were dispersed, the factory manager being replaced by the middleman in the domestic system.

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