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Three Critics of Weber’s Thesis of the Uniqueness of the West: Jack Goody, Kenneth Pomeranz, and S.N. Eisenstadt. Strengths and Weaknesses

DOI https://doi.org/10.15543/MWS/2014/2/3

Vittorio Cotesta


The paper offers a new discussion of Max Weber’s theory on modernity. It is based mainly on the Weber’s Collected Essays on the Sociology of Religion. The main thesis of the author is: (a) it is not possible to support the Calvinist thesis and its role in the genesis of capitalism; (b) the methodology of different rationalizations proposed and utilised by Max Weber in his essays on the sociology of religions is valid and offers a very good example of comparative sociology.
In the first part of the paper the author briefly presents the Weberian analysis of the rationalization process and the general view of Western society proposed by Weber.
In the second part are discussed the critique against Weber proposed by J. Goody and K. Pomeranz. In the third part Eisenstadt’s theory of multiple modernities is discussed. The article concludes noting the relevance of Weber’s comparative sociology.

Vittorio Cotesta 1

1 Vittorio Cotesta is Full Professor of Sociology at Università degli Studi Roma Tre. His fields of interest are global society, human rights, modernity, civilizations, ethnic relations, ethnic conflicts. Among his recent publications are: Global society and human rights (2012); Prosternarsi. Piccola indagine sulla regalità divina nelle civiltà euroasiatiche (Proskynesis. A short inquiry about divine kingship in the Eurasian civilizations), and Global society, Cosmopolitanism and human rights (2013).

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