Sociology Index


Idealism is a perspective that asserts the independent causal influence of intellectual ideas on social organization and culture. Idealism generally suggests the priority of ideals, principles, values, and goals over concrete realities. Idealists are understood to represent the world as it might or should be. Idealism is contrasted with materialism, which focuses on concrete aspects of social organization as causative of particular intellectual ideas and values. Max Weber can be said to have given an idealistic explanation of the growth of capitalism by linking it to the emergence of a ‘Protestant Ethic’.

Minding the world: Adorno's critique of idealism - Espen Hammer, University of Essex, UK 
Philosophy & Social Criticism, Vol. 26, No. 1, 71-92 (2000)
Against Jürgen Habermas' view that Theodor Adorno's thinking is characterized by a commitment to a philosophy of consciousness, and that therefore the only alternative to identitarian reason is to appeal to an intuitive competence operating beyond the range of conceptual thought.

Brahmanical Idealism, Anarchical Individualism, and the Dynamics of Indian Negotiating Behavior - Rajesh Kumar, Aarhus School of Business, Denmark, International Journal of Cross Cultural Management, Vol.4, No.1, 2004.
The article analyzes the implications of the Indian mindset on the dynamics of Indian negotiating behavior. That the constructs of Brahmanical idealism and anarchical individualism capture the nature of the Indian mindset. Brahmanical idealism reflects the tendency of the decision makers to seek the most perfect solution. It is only the inner world that defines the true reality. If Brahmanical idealism focuses on the purity of the mental world, anarchical individualism lays emphasis on the primacy of attaining the ideal solution through absolutist forms of interpersonal behavior.

Materialism and Idealism in Organizational Research - Paul S. Adler, Bryan Borys.
Organization theory needs a framework that can elucidate the technological, economic, political and symbolic forces that are at work in and on organizations. The conflict between materialism and idealism has often been inflated and/or obscured by conceptual strategies of specialization, eclecticism and reductionism. A metatheoretical approach to materialism and idealism is presented.

The Conception of Wealth among the Merchants in Late Imperial China - Weber's Idealism Revisited, Tak Sing Cheung, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Jie Hou, Nankai University.
This article reassesses Weber's position on the influence of Confucianism on China's failure to develop the modern form of capitalism by focusing on the conception of wealth among the merchants in the Ming and Qing dynasties.

Idealism and the Sociology of Knowledge 
David Bloor, Science Studies Unit, Department of Sociology, University of Edinburgh,
Social Studies of Science, Vol. 26, No. 4, 839-856 (1996)
The sociology of scientific knowledge is an empirical discipline, but occasionally it can be fruitful to reflect on its methodological basis. Critics have claimed that it is committed to a form of idealism. This arises because sociologists often sum up their conclusions by saying that knowledge is a social institution. This may at first seem to reinforce and justify the charge of idealism.

Space for Idealism? Politics and Education in the United Kingdom - Philip A. Woods 
Educational Policy, Vol. 16, No. 1, 118-138 (2002).
This article discusses the political changes that have occurred in the United Kingdom during the past quarter century. Education as an electoral issue is placed in the context of the political philosophies of the Conservative and Labour governments. The move from a neo-liberalism focus to a third way approach. It is possible to discern in this phase of the long dialogue between politicians and people the revitalization of ideals that have persisted in an evolving tradition of political liberalism that began with 19th century British Idealism.