In Our Time

BBC Radio 4

Society & Culture, History

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Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the history of ideas


IOT: Weber's The Protestant Ethic 27 Mar 14

March 27th, 2014

Episode 367 of 515 episodes

Max Weber's book the Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism, published in 1905, proposed that Protestantism had been a significant factor in the emergence of capitalism. He made an explicit connection between religious ideas and economic systems. Weber suggested that Calvinism, with its emphasis on personal asceticism and the merits of hard work, had created an ethic which had enabled the success of capitalism in Protestant countries. Weber's essay has come in for some criticism since he published the work, but it is still seen as one of the seminal texts of 20th-century sociology. Melvyn Bragg is joined by Peter Ghosh, Fellow in History at St Anne's College, Oxford; Sam Whimster, Honorary Professor in Sociology at the University of New South Wales and Linda Woodhead, Professor of Sociology of Religion at Lancaster University.

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