The Uses of Max Weber

David N. Gellner

in The Oxford Handbook of the Sociology of Religion

Published in print February 2011 | ISBN: 9780199588961
Published online September 2009 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Religion and Theology

The Uses of Max Weber


This article focuses on Max Weber. It draws some insightful parallels between classical and contemporary social-scientific discourse and in particular between the ideas of Weber and those of Foucault. The article examines what people can learn by looking at the different ways in which Weber has been used or not used in the study of South Asian religion and in social anthropology more generally. There is an interesting contrast in the reception of Weber: what he wrote on Hinduism and Indian history has been largely ignored, whereas scholars of Buddhism have frequently drawn upon his writings on Buddhism for inspiration. The fact that Weber's influence is largely absent from works on Hinduism is parallelled by the way his name has dropped out of discussions of ‘practice theory’, at least insofar as its anthropological incarnations are concerned.

Keywords: Max Weber; Buddhism; Hinduism; Foucault; social anthropology; Indian history

Article.  6782 words. 

Subjects: Religion ; Sociology of Religion

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribeRecommend to my Librarian

Buy this work at Oxford University Press »