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Max Weber and Individual Status

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ESSAY QUESTION: Examine and Discuss the changing nature of status through Weber’s theories by comparing its roles in pre and post industrialised nations. In addition, evaluate the relationship between individualism and atrophy in modern society.


Economic/ Social History

In pre-industrial times we worked as groups but now we seek are more individualized.

Critique of Marxism

…working in groups like we did in pre-industrial times allowed for class variances (Source ) to occur but since our population is larger and we’ve experience the technological revolution we are more individual ‘New Californian Self’ and hence Weber’s view on status (stande) is a more in-depth and relevant analysis than Marx’s understanding of class.  i.e. Marx was right, but Weber analysed deeper


  1. Methodological individualism homo economicus’

“[Political economy] does not treat the whole of man’s nature as modified by the social state, nor of the whole conduct of man in society. It is concerned with him solely as a being who desires to possess wealth, and who is capable of judging the comparative efficacy of means for obtaining that end.” ‘homo economicus’

  1. Effect of Technology on Individualism

à how it creates atrophy in modern society; showing that today we are so aware of individual status we have actually developed ‘Status-Anxiety’.

Attaining Individual Status

  1. through Inductive Reasoning

à John Stuart Mill, System of Logic

  1. via Status-Achievement

à Weber three modes of authority: traditional, charismatic, and legal-rational.


Future implications could explore – Post-Capitalism Debate (50 words)

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