Elizabeth Eisenstein (1979) has written on the printing press as an agent of social change. The cultural transformation of Europe in the sixteenth century has to also be understood as an economic and political transformation, of course, and the sociological insights of Max Weber are very useful in that regard. If we take a text semiotic approach we can improve on Weber's sociological theory. Peirce’s semiotics provides the basis for an epistemological break-through that goes beyond Cartesian dualism of subject and object. While Weber never explicitly discusses semiotics it is nevertheless useful to read his work through semiotic lenses. To do so, however, does not require going beyond a “foundationalist” approach to social science and the humanities.
|Keywords:||Semiotics, Text Semiotics, Weber, Peirce, Protestant Ethic, Geist, Modern Capitalism, Printed Book, Print Media|
Professor, Department of Sociology & Anthropology, University of Guelph, Canada
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