Sociology Index


Max Weber's works deal with rationalization in sociology of religion, government, organizational theory, and behavior. The process of rationalization affects economic life, law, administration, and religion. In many a culture, weather is thought to express the pleasure or displeasure of gods, or spirits of ancestors. Rationalization makes ends of means and imprisons the individual within the ‘iron cage’ of rationalized institutions, organizations, and activities.

Within symbolic interactionism, rationalization is used more in the everyday sense of the word to refer to providing justifications or excuses for one's actions. The term 'rationalization' has two specific meanings in sociology. The concept 'rationalization' was developed by German sociologist Max Weber (1864-1920) who used it in two ways.

Rationalization was the process through which magic and religious ideas lose cultural importance in a society and ideas based on science and practical calculation become dominant. Science explains weather patterns as a result of interaction between physical elements like wind-speed and direction, air and water temperatures.

Rationalization also involves the development of forms of social organization devoted to the achievement of precise goals by efficient means. It is this type of rationalization that we see in the development of modern business corporations and of bureaucracy. These are organizations dedicated to the pursuit of defined goals by calculated, systematically administered means.

Within symbolic interactionism, rationalization is used more in the everyday sense of the word to refer to providing justifications or excuses for one's actions.

Max Weber's Types of Rationality: Cornerstones for the Analysis of Rationalization Processes in History. - Kalberg, Stephen - Explores rationality in Max Weber's works and identifies types of rationality which play major roles in his writingl.

Vanished Vediators: On the Residual Status of Judges in Max Weber's Theory of Legal Rationalization - Sahni, Isher-Paul. - The centrality of judges in Max Weber’s theory of legal rationalization and their residual status in his Sociology of Law are discussed. Their neglect in his comparative examination of the Continental and the English administrations of justice is explained.

The City: Rationalization and freedom in Max Weber - DOMINGUES J. M.
Rio de Janeiro Federal University, Department of Sociology, Rio de Janeiro, BRESIL
Weber's diagnosis of modernity and his general sociological theory, especially as to his action theory and creativity. A more open-ended conception of modernity which is more compatible with Weber's own methodology.

A Subjective Universal: Max Weber and the Modern-Postmodern Divide - Thibodeaux, Jarrett. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Sociological Association Annual Meeting.
Abstract: Looking at Weber’s methodology and concept of rationalization, I explore how his writings relate to modernism and postmodernism. However, in terms of his concept of rationalization he was a modernist anx universalist in that he saw rationalization as objectively decipherable.

The Conflict between Methodology and Rationalization in the Work of Max Weber
Lars Udehn, Department of Sociology, Uppsala
Acta Sociologica, Vol. 24, No. 3, 131-147 (1981)
Max Weber is the leading representative of an interpretive theory in sociology aiming at an explanation in terms of the motives of the acting individuals. Western world is moving in the direction of increasing rationalization, held by many to be the uniting theme of his work. The process of rationalization ends in an iron cage of bureaucratic domination.

The Dialectics of Religious Rationalization and Secularization: Max Weber and Ernst Bloch, Warren S. Goldstein. 
Critical Sociology, Vol. 31, No. 1-2, 115-151 (2005).
Bloch's dialectical theory of secularization of Judeo-Christian Messianism into Marxism has a parallel structure to Weber's theory of religious rationalization in Ancient Judaism. Ancient Judaism experienced religious rationalization that is marked by dialectics between the charisma of the prophet and the tradition of the priest. Combining elements from Weber's theory of religious rationalization and Bloch's theory of secularization in which the tensions between the sacred and profane remain unresolved.

The Rationalization of Everything? Using Ritzer’s McDonaldization Thesis to Teach Weber, Stephen Lippmann, Howard Aldrich - Department of Sociology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Today’s students have grown up in a world structured by the forces of rationalization. Max Weber argued that the process of rationalization, once introduced to the world, transformed social life forever. Rationalization led to new practices that were chosen because they were efficient, rather than customary. Weber’s ideas continue to inform sociological theories today.

Judicial Reform and Rationalization: The Diffusion of Court Reform Policies Among the American States, J M Scheb, A R Matheny.
Max Weber's sociology of law from which his concept of rationalization is adopted as a schema of policy development. According to Weber, the 'rationalization' of legal institutions would accompany the advancement of capitalism in modernizing nations. The data indicate a strong connection between judicial reform and more general patterns of innovation diffusion among the States, but only modest support for Weber's assertions about the rationalization.

Weber's concept of rationalization and the electronic revolution in western classical music
Journal Qualitative Sociology, Valerie Ann Malhotra.
This article considers many of the important issues which Weber addresses in his work on the sociology of music and the definitional problems related to Weber's concept of rationalization. Examines Weber's concepts of rational action and rationalization in relation to music and raises questions regarding Weber's conclusions regarding the effect of rationalization in Western culture.