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Max Weber in America
Lawrence A. Scaff

Winner of the 2012 Distinguished Scholarly Publication Award, History of Sociology Section of the American Sociological Association

Hardcover | 2011 | $51.00 | £42.95 | ISBN: 9780691147796
328 pp. | 6 x 9 1/4 | 6 halftones.
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Max Weber, widely considered a founder of sociology and the modern social sciences, visited the United States in 1904 with his wife Marianne. The trip was a turning point in Weber's life and it played a pivotal role in shaping his ideas, yet until now virtually our only source of information about the trip was Marianne Weber's faithful but not always reliable 1926 biography of her husband.Max Weber in America carefully reconstructs this important episode in Weber's career, and shows how the subsequent critical reception of Weber's work was as American a story as the trip itself.

Lawrence Scaff provides new details about Weber's visit to the United States--what he did, what he saw, whom he met and why, and how these experiences profoundly influenced Weber's thought on immigration, capitalism, science and culture, Romanticism, race, diversity, Protestantism, and modernity. Scaff traces Weber's impact on the development of the social sciences in the United States following his death in 1920, examining how Weber's ideas were interpreted, translated, and disseminated by American scholars such as Talcott Parsons and Frank Knight, and how the Weberian canon, codified in America, was reintroduced into Europe after World War II.

A landmark work by a leading Weber scholar, Max Weber in America will fundamentally transform our understanding of this influential thinker and his place in the history of sociology and the social sciences.


"In 1904, shortly after emerging from severe psychological illness and between the two essays that made up The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism, Max Weber traveled with his wife, Marianne, to the U.S., where he would deliver a paper at the Congress of Arts and Science in St. Louis. Drawing from a rich variety of archival material, Scaff has written the definitive story of that trip."--Choice

"Max Weber in America ranks among the very best interpretations of Max Weber's sociology."--Bryan S. Turner, American Journal of Sociology

"Scaff has undertaken a prodigious amount of archival research in tracing Weber's path through the United States, and it is difficult to conceive of what would comprise a more definitive examination of this period in Weber's life and work."--John G. Gunnell, Journal of American History

"This close-grained reading of Weber's American trip and the American dissemination of his writings sheds illuminating light on both. . . . Weber scholars will find Scaff's meticulous treatment of the translation of Weber's texts extremely useful."--Daniel Rodgers, H-Net Reviews

"Given its scale, the uniqueness of its insights and the relentless industry displayed, this is a work of scholarship which is most unlikely to be superseded. The study comes at Weber from an unexpected angle and adds much to the understanding of this multifaceted giant founder of sociology."--Kieran Flanagan, Canadian Journal of Sociology

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