The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Political Power
Sociopolitical Conditions Underlying the Development of Calvinism
Keywords:Calvinism, social conditions, political factors, Ancien Régime
This article reconsiders the societal conditions determining ascetic Protestantism such as Calvinism during its early development, as distinguished from its later effects on society. It argues that a multiplicity of social conditions impacted the rise and expansion of Calvinism. These involve political, religious, cultural and economic conditions of the rise of Calvinism. They indicate the original societal conditioning of Calvinism, as distinct from and empirically prior to its subsequent effects on societies. This analysis specifically focuses on the sociopolitical conditions and conjunctures influencing Calvinism. The article concludes that early Calvinism was the outcome of political and related societal conditions and historical conjunctures, specifically of the Ancien Régime, and only subsequently producing its social outcomes emphasized in the sociological literature. The article aims to contribute to abridging a gap in the sociological literature, which centers on Calvinism’s outcomes in society, including economy and politics, and decenters on its own societal, including political, conditions.
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