Updating the Methodological Heritage of M. Weber in Search for Answers to the Challenges of Modern Sociology

Updating the Methodological Heritage of M. Weber in Search for Answers to the Challenges of Modern Sociology

Zarubina N.N.

Dr. Sci. (Philos.), Prof., Department of Sociology, MGIMO University, Moscow, Russia n-zarubina@yandex.ru

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Zarubina N.N. Updating the Methodological Heritage of M. Weber in Search for Answers to the Challenges of Modern Sociology. Sotsiologicheskie issledovaniya [Sociological Studies]. 2021. No 4. P. 3-14


The aim of the article is to update the methodological heritage of M. Weber in the context of new epistemological and theoretical-methodological challenges to social and humanitarian knowledge, caused by the “Big Data” and the “revolution of archives”. The rich instrumental capabilities of digital research practices, allowing to establish various correlations of a set of facts, enhance the applied and predictive capabilities of science. However, they also provoke a rejection of fundamental theorizing as the goal of science. It is shown that the methodology of “value assignment” substantiated by Weber is an example of solving these problems in the historical sociology of the early 20th century. “Understanding the cultural implications” of historical facts takes precedence over establishing practical correlations between them as an essential goal of scientific research. At the same time, the dynamics of values and meanings makes their results relative and changeable. It is shown that Weber’s refusal to establish universal laws of history in favor of typical causal connections identified by the researcher on the basis of “attribution to value” does not mean a rejection of the “big theory”. In the historical sociology of Weber there is a universal methodological basis – the theory of rationalization, which unites various subject areas and theoretical perspectives and serves as a guideline for understanding society in its diversity and contradictions.

historical sociology of M. Weber; “Big data”; “revolution of archives”; “attribution to value”; “big theories”; universal methodology


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