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The Reformation And The Early Social Sciences (Marx, Weber, Durkheim, Freud): Toward A Cultural Epidemiology

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Chapter Summary

North Germans continue often to regard the Catholic South as provincial and backward, perhaps precisely because so many people there are "still" Catholic. Such prejudices die hard and point to a common conclusion that while "stalwart" German Lutherans had authentic religious reasons for their protest, "stubborn" German Catholics had only the crassest political and economic reasons for their resistance to reform. This chapter intends to probe the ways by which historians may have learned to escape this national, progressive, and intentionalist approach to the Reformation. It argues, what the author call the quest for a "cultural epidemiology", in which historians seek the reasons why certain people in certain situations found certain cultural solutions to their problems persuasive, and by implication why others did not. The author radically curtails the problems by looking only at four great figures, Karl Marx, Sigmund Freud, Max Weber and Emile Durkheim.

Keywords: cultural epidemiology; Emile Durkheim; German Catholics; Karl Marx; Max Weber; reformation; Sigmund Freud



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