Beyond capitalism: A critique of Max Weber’s general understanding of the Islamic discourse

  • Joseph Jon Kaminski International University of Sarajevo
Keywords: Capitalism, interpretive sociology, Islamic culture, Max Weber, Orientalism


This article evaluates Max Weber’s overall analysis of Islam. Despite his efforts to be objective, Weber’s analysis was entrenched within a similar Orientalist discursive framework present among other Western scholars who studied non-Western traditions during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. After a review of the existing literature on Weber’s understanding of Islam and its relation to capitalism, this article critically explores other aspects of Weber’s conclusions about Islam that are equally problematic. Weber glosses over many centuries of variegated Islamic cultural history to provide a universalist account of the Islamic civilisation that reduces it to a general meta-discourse. He regularly ignores many of the more localised, regional Islamic cultural traditions altogether. As a result, Weber fails to meaningfully account for the many nuances and idiosyncrasies constitutive of the broader Islamic tradition. This article argues that Weber’s account of Islam shows a great deal of confusion and misunderstanding on his part.


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Author Biography

Joseph Jon Kaminski, International University of Sarajevo

Assistant Professor Dr.

International University of Sarajevo

PhD- Purdue University-- United States (2014)

How to Cite
Kaminski, J. J. (2016). Beyond capitalism: A critique of Max Weber’s general understanding of the Islamic discourse. Intellectual Discourse, 24(1). Retrieved from