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Macro-comparisons in Max Weber’s Sociology: Precautions, Possibilities, Results and Limits

Vol. 4, No. 2, December 2008
Deutsch | français

Stephen Kalberg, Boston University

Max Weber considers large-scale comparative study as an extremely delicate and complex endeavour. He insists on a certain number of precautions. According to him transcultural comparisons are definitely possible, but only in a specific and modest way. The present study will first present several major characteristics of sociology that render comparison difficult: we will stress its numerous reservations. We will then examine in which circumscribed manner the large-scale comparisons can be made, on the basis of ideal-types and their limited results.