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date: 24 January 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This article focuses on Max Weber. It draws some insightful parallels between classical and contemporary social-scientific discourse and in particular between the ideas of Weber and those of Foucault. The article examines what people can learn by looking at the different ways in which Weber has been used or not used in the study of South Asian religion and in social anthropology more generally. There is an interesting contrast in the reception of Weber: what he wrote on Hinduism and Indian history has been largely ignored, whereas scholars of Buddhism have frequently drawn upon his writings on Buddhism for inspiration. The fact that Weber's influence is largely absent from works on Hinduism is parallelled by the way his name has dropped out of discussions of ‘practice theory’, at least insofar as its anthropological incarnations are concerned.

Keywords: Max Weber, Buddhism, Hinduism, Foucault, social anthropology, Indian history

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