Questions
Goals in Reading Max Weber's Early Works
Here are a few goals and questions to keep in mind while reading Max Weber's early works:
 What's in these writings for us? What of these writings can we use in our social and political theories, for organizing society, for comparative politics? In other words, what is the contemporary significance of the essays?
 What were the political questions Weber addressed? What issues? And how did he analyze them? Can we carry over his methodology and apply it to analyzing today's political societies and cultures? These questions on analysis and methodology are particularly important because Weber can be considered to be among the early founders of modern social science.
 What is distinctive about Weber's methodology? How does Weber analyze social, economic, and cultural change? In particular play, what role do cultural factors play in Weber's methodology and analysis?
 Given that Weber's early methodology is of importance to us, the question then becomes: What characterized his method of analysis?
 What are the specific aspects of his comparative method?
 If Weber is using an interpretative approach, the following questions come to mind in attempting to clarify the nature of the analysis:
  • From what sociopolitical and economic perspective is Weber analyzing German politics and society?
  • What was the Zeitgeist and how could it have influenced Weber's interpretation?
  • Under whom did Weber study and what political philosophers did he hold in high esteem? Which influenced his thought?
  • What was the influence of recent German history on Weber?
  • Is there a pattern of analysis underlying Weber's interpretations?