Weber’s theory of bureaucracy and modern society



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STATE AND ECONOMY IN MODERN SOCIETY 1992

Student: David Risstrom, 8120572



Lecturer: John Love
WEBER’S THEORY OF BUREAUCRACY AND MODERN SOCIETY
How dominant have bureaucracies become in modern societies? Is Weber’s classical model still an accurate description of the main structural properties and dynamics of bureaucracy? What criticisms have been advanced by commentators like Luhmann and Blau?
Bureaucracies have become particularly pervasive in modern societies, and thus justifiably have attracted a significant degree of thought concerning their existence. This essay considers some of the characteristics Weber attributed to bureaucratic organisation and growth in modern society, critically contrasting it with some thoughts of more recent theorists such as Luhmann, Blau and Parkin. In particular, I examine the consequences of Weber’s ideal type methodology, suggesting it provides a significant limitation in the application of his theory.



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