Max Weber on Social Revolution. 1909.

Sociologist, Max Weber, introduces the theory of rationalization as a distinct issue in the modern industrialized world. The theory of rationalization conceptualizes the idea that modern society must be governed through structure and organization to achieve maximum productivity. Rational calculation generally dominates modern societal ideals, and in turn influences individual’s ability to interpret reason. Weber explains, “The motivations for human action in society and in public affairs changes from values, emotion, and sympathy to rational calculation and efficiency.” Because humans are emotional beings, this shift raises question and concern. Does insistence on formal rationality turn us, the individual, towards irrationality? Ironically, when attempting to abide by rules and control, discernment begins to fade. Does rationalization cause several to reject valuable emotions, as well as sensations of freedom? Weber identifies interesting issues connected and produced by the relationship of rationalization and bureaucracy:

This passion for bureaucracy … is enough to drive one to despair. It is as if in politics … we were deliberately to become men who need “order” and nothing but order, become nervous and cowardly if for one moment this order wavers, and helpless if they are torn away from their total incorporation in it. That the world should know no men but these: it is such an evolution that we are already caught up, and the great question is, therefore, not how we can promote and hasten it, but what can we oppose to this machinery in order to keep a portion of mankind free from this parcelling-out of the soul, from this supreme mastery of the bureaucratic way of life.”

It’s true, order is necessary to produce efficiency amongst organizations and institutions. However, the social structure’s implications of such refrains potential to fully embody their personal individuality. Weber mentions the “iron cage”, an analogy that recognizes the entrapment of individual in the social structure.

She.. is beyond the iron cage.

Amaris Jacobs.


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