The Theory of Rationalization of Max Weber as a Methodology for Understanding Modern Sociocultural Processes


Zarubina N.N.

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

DOI: 10.31857/S013216250009355-3
ID of the Article: 8178


For citation:

Zarubina N.N. The Theory of Rationalization of Max Weber as a Methodology for Understanding Modern Sociocultural Processes. Sotsiologicheskie issledovaniya [Sociological Studies]. 2020. No 6. P. 3-15




Abstract

The article analyzes the theory of rationalization in the historical sociology of M. Weber and demonstrates its heuristic capabilities for understanding the sociocultural problems of digital society. It is shown that the multiplicity of rationalization types identified by Weber forms the research program of historical sociology based on their comparative study. It is substantiated that the most important factor in the formation of capitalism as a historically unique economic and sociocultural order in the West was substantive rationalization, similar to which not one of the civilizations of the East knew. The concepts of substantive and formal rationalization are analyzed, it is argued that under the universality of Westerntype capitalism Weber understood the spread of formal rationality in modern societies. There are shown the heuristic possibilities of the formal rationality concept for the analysis of sociocultural processes in the contexts of digitalization and for revealing its contradictions and irrational consequences. An assumption has been put forward about the contradiction between the formal rationalization of digital algorithms and the growing irrationalization of everyday human practices. It is shown that the main development problem in the modern world is the lack of substantive rationalization trends, without which humanity cannot reach a qualitatively new level of development. It has been suggested that the justification of the need for ideological and spiritual breakthroughs for the development of society has become the most important result of Weber’s rationalization theory.


Keywords
M. Weber’s legacy; historical sociology; rationalization; substantive rationality; formal rationality; irrationality; digitalization; digital society; social networks; network communities

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Content No 6, 2020