Max Weber and the Origin of Human Rights: A Study on Cultural Innovation
22 Pages Posted: 12 Aug 2006
Date Written: May 2006
There can be little doubt that a belief in human rights and the dignity of the human person is one of the most important characteristics of our time, at least since the end of the Second World War and to an even greater degree following the collapse of communism in Europe. While this development was anticipated by a few sociological theorists, such as Émile Durkheim, it stands in sharp tension with the gloomy prognoses about the future that Max Weber formulated on various occasions. What is more, since human rights are rarely discussed in Weber's gigantic oeuvre, the question of their origins may at first seem rather marginal for the study of his work. However, it can be shown that the origin of this value complex - so central to the modern age - yields an interesting perspective on several aspects of Weber's sociology.
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