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Title: Hindu reformist ethics and the Weber thesis : an application of Max Weber's methodology
Author: Sahay, Arun
Awarding Body: University of London
Current Institution: Royal Holloway, University of London
Date of Award: 1969
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This is a critical study of the thesis advanced by Max Weber in "The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism". Besides undertaking a theoretical critique as such, it seeks, as its central method, to test Weber's thesis, and the methodology on which it rests, by critically applying it to the study of certain Indian Reformist Movements. The study consists, therefore, of (l) an outline of its theoretical basis, (2) its empirical application, and (3) finally, a statement of conclusions arising from both the theoretical and the empirical aspects. In an Introduction, after examining the merits of Durkheimian analysis of Indian society, with Talcott Parsors's suggestions concerning evolutionary and comparative perspectives especially in mind, we suggest that Pareto's analytical system turns out to be a more suitable basis for the internal analysis of complex societies, in combination with Weber's comparative method as used in the present study of Hindu Reformist movements. In the theoretical section, we attempt to define the ideal-type and the spirit of Capitalism, and to examine the methodological basis of Weber's "Protestant Ethic" thesis (including the studies of Confucianism, Hinduism, and Ancient Judaism) in order to determine as clearly as possible the applicability of the logical structure of 'mental experimentation' implicit in Weberian sociological analysis. In our application of Weber's methodology, systematic and detailed accounts of four Hindu reformist movements - Arya Samaj, Brahma Samaj, Jainism, and Sikhism - are offered. These are original accounts: attempting a substantive analysis and a clear presentation of the historical development of these movements, the formation of their 'doctrine-ethics' system and the justification of their reformist content. They are, therefore, analytical descriptions in the exploratory empirical sense rather than rationalised histories. In the third part, the clarification of the 'ideal-typical' norm of comparison - the Luther-Calvin system of doctrine and ethics -makes Weber's theory on the Protestant ethic and its rationality completely explicit, and is an empirical contribution similar to the accounts of the reformist movements. Comparison between the norm and the Indian 'doctrine-ethics' systems, and the methodological implications of such studies, conclude our critical examination of Weber's thesis, its methodology, and their relation to sociological analysis and theory.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Sociology