The City (book)

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The City
Author Max Weber
Country Germany
Language German
Publication date
1921
ISBN 0-02-934210-4 (Free Press 1986 paperback edition)

The City is a book by Max Weber, a German economist and sociologist. It was published posthumously in 1921. In 1924 it was incorporated into a larger book, Economy and Society. An English translation was made in 1958 and several editions have been released since then. It is still in print: a paperback edition was issued in Glencoe, Illinois by Free Press in 1986 with ISBN 0-02-934210-4 .

It is likely that Weber compiled that research in 1911–1913, although it contains materials he found before that time.

The analysis of city consists of many different subjects—including study of religion (especially Protestantism), history of development of democracy in Western Europe.

Weber argues that the development of cities in European culture (Occidental cities) as an autonomous associations with its own municipal officials was influenced by such factors as:

  • the religion of Christianity
  • the privileged legal position of the citizens (based upon citizen's obligation for military service)
  • the decline of religious sanctions of kinship solidarity that facilitated creation of unified urban community

That made the city's population easily influenced by later ideas of the Reformers.

In Weber's own words:

The origin of a rational and inner-worldly ethic is associated in the Occident with the appearance of thinkers and prophets [...] who developed in a social context which was alien to the Asiatic cultures. This context consisted of the political problems engendered by the bourgeois status-group of the city, without which neither Judaism, nor Christianity, nor the development of Hellenistic thinking are conceivable.