Tawney Richard(1880-1962) English economic historian and egalitarian social philosopher, influenced by his early association with the Workers’ Educational Association (WEA) and by his lifelong Christianity. As an economic historian Tawney can be seen as a forerunner of modern approaches to economic and social history which emphasize working-class resistance to capitalist exploitation. As a social philosopher, in works such as Equality (1920) and The Acquisitive Society (1931), he raised fundamental questions about the morality of 20th-century social institutions. In sociology he is best remembered for his Religion and the Rise of Capitalism (1926). In this he agreed with WEBER's thesis that the individualism and worldliness associated with Calvinism and Puritanism were the moral engine of capitalist development, although he regarded Weber as failing to give sufficient emphasis to the two-way causal interaction between religion and economics.
Collins Dictionary of Sociology, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2000