Skip to content

Online ordering will be unavailable on Saturday 10 December 2022, 0800-1800 GMT.

To place an order, please contact Customer Services.

UK/ROW +44 (0) 1223 326050 | US 1 800 872 7423 or 1 212 337 5000 | Australia/New Zealand 61 3 86711400 or 1800 005 210, New Zealand 0800 023 520

Register Sign in Wishlist

Weber, Passion and Profits
'The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism' in Context


Award Winner
  • Date Published: February 2011
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521174442


Add to wishlist

Other available formats:
Hardback, eBook

Looking for an inspection copy?

This title is not currently available on inspection

Product filter button
About the Authors
  • Max Weber's The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism is one of the best-known and most enduring texts of classical sociology, continually inspirational and widely read by both scholars and students. In an insightful interpretation, Jack Barbalet discloses that Weber's work is not simply about the cultural origins of capitalism but an allegory concerning the Germany of his day. Situating The Protestant Ethic in the development of Weber's prior and subsequent writing, Barbalet traces changes in his understanding of key concepts including 'calling' and 'rationality'. In a close analysis of the ethical underpinnings of the capitalist spirit and of the institutional structure of capitalism, Barbalet identifies continuities between Weber and the eighteenth-century founder of economic science, Adam Smith, as well as Weber's contemporary, the American firebrand Thorstein Veblen. Finally, by considering Weber's investigation of Judaism and capitalism, important aspects of his account of Protestantism and capitalism are revealed.

    • A striking interpretation of Weber's arguments concerning Judaism and capitalism
    • Compares Weber's argument with detailed accounts of Adam Smith's and Thorstein Veblen's treatments of the spirit of capitalism
    • Interprets the Protestant ethic argument and links it to Weber's earlier neglected work as well as his contemporary methodological essays
    Read more


    • Winner of the 2010 Stephen Crook Memorial Prize of the Australian Sociological Association

    Reviews & endorsements

    Review of the hardback: 'Where secondary sources about Max Weber's oeuvre often show too much deference to the old master, Jack Barbalet's re-appraisal of The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism refreshingly dissects and contests its core thesis. Not only does Barbalet provide a sophisticated historical contextualisation of this highly influential book and trace its links to Weber's other writings, he also deploys his expertise in the sociology of emotions to mount a serious challenge to Weber's central arguments and to contrast them with those of Adam Smith and Thorstein Veblen. This makes Weber, Passion and Profits a real tour de force, and surely required reading for anyone interested in Max Weber's ideas and in the history of social thought.' Patrick Baert, Fellow of Selwyn College, Cambridge

    Review of the hardback: 'Jack Barbalet's reading of Max Weber's sociology of religious asceticism extracts a new richness from these classical texts and restores to modern sociology a discourse – passion, virtue and calling – which we have unfortunately lost. More than simply an interpretation of Weber's work on the Protestant sects, Barbalet situates his appreciation of Weber within the broader context of theories of the market, the missing work on Roman Catholicism and anti-Semitism. Weber, Passions and Profits, building on his earlier work on emotions, is not only a work of immense scholarship but also a work of passion.' Bryan S. Turner, Editor of the Cambridge Dictionary of Sociology (2006)

    See more reviews

    Customer reviews

    Not yet reviewed

    Be the first to review

    Review was not posted due to profanity


    , create a review

    (If you're not , sign out)

    Please enter the right captcha value
    Please enter a star rating.
    Your review must be a minimum of 12 words.

    How do you rate this item?


    Product details

    • Date Published: February 2011
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521174442
    • length: 264 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 15 mm
    • weight: 0.39kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. From the inaugural lecture to the Protestant ethic: political education and German futures
    2. From the Protestant ethic to the vocation lectures: Beruf, rationality and emotion
    3. Passions and profits: the emotional origins of capitalism in seventeenth-century England
    4. Protestant virtues and deferred gratification: Max Weber and Adam Smith on the spirit of capitalism
    5. Ideal type, institutional and evolutionary analyses of the origins of capitalism: Max Weber and Thorstein Veblen
    6. The Jewish question: religious doctrine and sociological method

  • Author

    Jack Barbalet, University of Western Sydney


    • Winner of the 2010 Stephen Crook Memorial Prize of the Australian Sociological Association

Sorry, this resource is locked

Please register or sign in to request access. If you are having problems accessing these resources please email

Register Sign in
Please note that this file is password protected. You will be asked to input your password on the next screen.

» Proceed

You are now leaving the Cambridge University Press website. Your eBook purchase and download will be completed by our partner Please see the permission section of the catalogue page for details of the print & copy limits on our eBooks.

Continue ×

Continue ×

Continue ×
warning icon

Turn stock notifications on?

You must be signed in to your Cambridge account to turn product stock notifications on or off.

Sign in Create a Cambridge account arrow icon

Find content that relates to you

Join us online

This site uses cookies to improve your experience. Read more Close

Are you sure you want to delete your account?

This cannot be undone.


Thank you for your feedback which will help us improve our service.

If you requested a response, we will make sure to get back to you shortly.

Please fill in the required fields in your feedback submission.