Posts Tagged ‘Max Weber’


Robert Nelson on Lutheranism and Nordic Social Democracy

The Nordic states are known for their high levels of socio-economic equality, good governance, and high levels of social trust. While some scholars have attributed this to their unique brand of secular social democracy, Prof. Robert Nelson (U of Maryland) argues that Nordic social democracy has deep roots in the “Lutheran ethic.” We discuss how the Lutheran ethic is different than the Calvinist ethic (as seen by Max Weber), how contemporary social democratic thought in Nordic countries has similar elements to Lutheranism, and what is in store for social democracy.

Check out our other podcasts related to the Protestant Reformation this year!

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Rodney Stark on Myths of the Reformation

Many misconceptions surround the Protestant Reformation, from it being the birth of capitalism to it prompting Europe’s secularization. Noted sociologist of religion Rodney Stark (Baylor ISR) joins us to discuss these myths and more. With the 500th anniversary of the Reformation just about a month away, this is a great opportunity to refresh on some interesting talking points to engage your friends, family, and colleagues.

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William Reimer on Religion & Violence in Toronto

Sociologists have long noted, and perplexed by, the long-term trend in interpersonal violence in industrializing nations, a pattern that dates back several centuries. William Reimer, author of “Revisiting Toronto the Good,” explains how the spread of religious ideas and themes in the late 19th century helped to mitigate murder rates in this Canadian “city of churches.” We discuss the rise of British Evangelical Protestantism, its influence on proper manliness and prison reform, and how it became infused in the political fabric of the city in the late 1800s.

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Paul Froese on the Meaning of Life

What is our purpose in life? How do we find it? While the good folks at Research on Religion would like to provide you with a definitive answer to that question, we can only offer you up a sociological analysis of how people search for meaning to their lives. Prof. Paul Froese (Baylor University) helps us with this task as he talks about his newest book, “On Purpose: How We Create the Meaning of Life.” Our journey includes everybody from Jesus to King Missile and from Tony Robbins to a pig who just doesn’t care.

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Nile Green on Islam in Bombay and Beyond

We celebrate our 300th episode by going back in time to look at how industrialization and globalization affected the Islamic religious landscape of Bombay, India, and what effect those changes had on a larger geography and period of time. Prof. Nile Green, a historian at UCLA, joins us to take us on this interesting journey. Instead of seeing modernization leading to a standardized and “Protestant” form of Islamic faith (as Max Weber might predict), Nile argues that the laissez faire approach of the British towards non-Christian religions combined with Christian missionaries resulted in numerous forms of Islam, from “reformist” to “customary.” He notes how this “religious economies” approach also explains the expansion of Islam into places such as Japan and the United States.

Celebrate our 300th episode by browsing our archives and sharing your discoveries with a friend!

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Charles North on Religion, Economic Development, and Rule of Law

Prof. Charles North discusses his research linking religion to the rule of law and economic development. We survey the literature on religion and economic growth, and then chat about North’s findings wherein Protestantism, Catholicism, and Hinduism were statistically linked to higher support for “rule of law” and lower levels of corruption. We discuss some of the potential causal reasons for this connection, which takes us back to medieval Europe and the rise of canon law.

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Bob Subrick on Religion and Adam Smith, F.A. Hayek, and Vernon Smith

Adam Smith, Friedrich Hayek, and recent Nobel Laureate Vernon Smith are known for their deep thinking into the world of economics. But do these economic scholars have anything to say about the nature and social role of religion? Prof. Bob Subrick of James Madison University says “Yes!” and explains how each of these thinkers gives us insight into the role of religion and religious institutions in society. We take an intellectual tour through the economics of religion and come out all the better for it!

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Rebecca Shah on Religion & the Enterprising Poor in India

Rebecca Shah of Georgetown University’s Berkley Center discusses her research on how religious belief and practice affects the economic prospects of the enterprising poor in India. We review the particular challenges facing women entrepreneurs in the poorest neighborhoods of Bangalore, the role that different types of loans play on their financial success (or lack thereof), and how their faith interacts with microfinancing to help improve their lot. The important role of tithing and rituals are highlighted.

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Ruth Melkonian on Latin American Protestants

Prof. Ruth Melkonian surveys the history of Protestantism in Latin America and examines whether evangelicals and Pentecostals in the region share the same political views as their U.S. brethren or whether they appear more similar to non-evangelicals in Latin America. She reveals that Latin American Protestants are more similar to their non-Protestant compatriots in the region than they are to their counterparts in the United States. We also discuss the issue of Latino immigration into the US and how evangelical leaders have viewed this phenemonenon.

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