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Book Details

  • Paperback
  • Bookstore's Wholesale Price: $16.50
  • January 2009
  • ISBN: 978-0-393-93068-9
  • 312 pages
  • Territory Rights: USA and Dependencies and the Philippines.

The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism

Norton Critical Editions


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Max Weber (Author), Richard Swedberg (Editor, Cornell University)


The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism is Max Weber’s most important work and, since its publication in 1904, has been widely considered the most important sociological study of the twentieth century.

This landmark work sets out the relationship between Western religious ethos and the emergence and growth of capitalism; its thesis being that the values of hard work and industry at the core of ascetic Protestantism made it possible for modern rational capitalism to flourish. This Norton Critical Edition is based on the Talcott Parsons translation (1930). It is accompanied by the Translator’s Note and explanatory annotations.

“Interpretations” includes five major scholarly essays on Weber and The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism by Ola Agevall, Richard F. Hamilton, Gudmund Hernes, Peter Breiner, and Richard Swedberg.

A Chronology of Weber’s life and work, a Selected Bibliography, and an Index are also included.



    Translator’s Preface

    The Text of The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism

    Author’s Introduction

    Part I: The Problem

    1. Chapter 1. Religious Affiliation and Social Stratification
    2. Chapter 2. The Spirit of Capitalism
    3. Chapter 3. Luther’s Conception of the Calling

    Part II: The Practical Ethics of the Ascetic Branches of Protestantism

    1. Chapter 4. The Religious Foundations of Worldly Asceticism
    2. Chapter 5. Asceticism and the Spirit of Capitalism


    1. Ola Agevall, A Science of Unique Events: Max Weber’s Methodology of the Cultural Sciences
    2. Richard F. Hamilton, Max Weber’s The Protestant Ethic: A Commentary on the Thesis and on Its Reception in the Academic Community
    3. Gudmund Hernes, The Logic of The Protestant Ethic
    4. Peter Breiner, Weber’s The Protestant Ethic as Hypothetical Narrative of Original Accumulation
    5. Richard Swedberg, Weber on the Economy and Religion

    Max Weber: A Chronology

    Selected Bibliography