Skip to main content

elective affinity

elective affinity A term used by Max Weber to describe the relationship between Protestantism and capitalism (in The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism, 1905). It refers to the resonance or coherence between aspects of the teachings of Protestantism and of the capitalist enterprise, notably the ethos of the latter. The relationship was unconscious so far as the actors involved were concerned. The concept has remained firmly tied to Weber's work although it has been used loosely by other sociologists, often in situations where it seems likely that there is an association between certain variables, but it is not yet clear what form this connection might take. A more modern way of describing the situation to which the concept applies might be in terms of the connections between beliefs, actions, and the unintended consequences of action. (see R. H. Howe , ‘Max Weber's Elective Affinities’, American Journal of Sociology, 1978
.) See also PROTESTANT ETHIC THESIS; UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"elective affinity." A Dictionary of Sociology. . Encyclopedia.com. 21 Nov. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"elective affinity." A Dictionary of Sociology. . Encyclopedia.com. (November 21, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/social-sciences/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/elective-affinity

"elective affinity." A Dictionary of Sociology. . Retrieved November 21, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/social-sciences/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/elective-affinity

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.