The Methodological Approaches Of Max Weber And Emile Durkheim

837 Words4 Pages
Max Weber and Emile Durkheim are two of the three founding fathers of sociology, who are both famous for their scientific methods in their approach towards sociology. They both wanted their methodological approaches to be more and more organized and scientific, however because of the difference in their views on the idea of scientific, Durkheim’s approach tends to be more scientific than Weber’s. This is because Weber does not wish to approach sociology in the manner scientists approached the natural sciences and believes more in interpretive analysis, than observational analysis. In this paper, I will compare and contrast the methodological approaches of Weber and Durkheim and discuss how Weber’s approach is more historical and Durkheim’s…show more content…
He thus believes that while studying sociology we should try to interpret the actions of the individuals and the purpose and meaning that these individuals attach to their actions in order to understand society and its institutions. Durkheim on the other hand was a positivist and in the first line of his book, The Division of Labor, itself he makes it clear that “This book is above all an attempt to treat the facts of moral life according to the methods of the positive science” (Durkheim xxv). He did not want to “deduce morality from science, but to constitute the science of morality” (Durkheim xxv). This is the basic and the most significant procedural difference between Durkheim and Weber which we will now further…show more content…
Weber’s procedure involves certain models of ideal behavior of individuals that he calls “ideal types” which he believes are not the reflections of how the society actually behaves but are to be considered abstract, hypothetical examples of situations from which actual events deviate because of accidental and irrational factors. These ideal types are used to compare and assess the deviation of actual behaviors and events from the ideal type. Durkheim on the other hand believed that the method applied in the study of sociology should be universally applicable. Unlike Weber who put more emphasis on interpretation of actions and on creating some fixed ideal types, Durkheim believed that we should not begin to approach sociology with pre-formulated broad notions that exist only in our minds without observing the real world around us. He believed that moral facts were phenomenon that were possible to observe, describe and classify and that since “morality develops over the course of history and is dominated by historical causes”, it changes with the change in social conditions (Durkheim xxvi). Durkheim, thus wishes to be more scientific in his approach and wants to observe moral facts that are constantly changing to formulate sociological theories as opposed to just accepting a set of “ideal type” morals that were formed at a specific

More about The Methodological Approaches Of Max Weber And Emile Durkheim

Open Document