Thursday, July 8, 2021

The Iron Cage of Rationality explained

The Iron Cage of rationality is a sociological idea first introduced by sociologist and philosopher Max Weber . The Iron Cage refers to the increasing process ofrationalization among human life which imprisons the individual in the "Iron Cage" based on mental laws. Weber called this overly bureaucratic social order "the polarized night of the frozen darkness."

The original German term was "stahlhartes Gehäuse", it was translated into "iron cage" by Talcot Parsons in his 1958 translation of Weber's book "Protestant Ethics and the Spirit of Capitalism". A number of later sociologists challenged his translation in debating whether the more accurate translation would be a hard shell like iron, this is a significant difference from the original translation. A more literal translation from German is as hard as iron.

Weber becomes concerned about social actions and the subjective meaning that human beings project on their actions and the interactions between specific social relationships. He also believed in idealism, which is the belief that we know things only because of the meaning we give them. This led to his interest in power and authority as terms of bureaucracy and rationalization.