Talcott Parsons translated Weber’s use of the word “Wahlverwandtschaft” as “correlations”…but maybe a better treatment would be “elective affinities.”
In view of the tremendous confusion of interdependent inﬂuences between the material basis, the forms of social and political organization, and the ideas current in the time of the Reformation, we can only proceed by investigating whether and at what points certain correlations (Wahlverwandtschaft) between forms of religious belief and practical ethics can be worked out. At the same time we shall as far as possible clarify the manner and the general direction in which, by virtue of those relationships, the religious movements have inﬂuenced the development of material culture. Only when this has been determined with reasonable accuracy can the attempt be made to estimate to what extent the historical development of modern culture can be attributed to those religious forces and to what extent to others.
Max Weber, The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism (underline and parenthetical mine)
For more see Richard Herbert Howe (1978) Max Weber’s Elective Affinities: Sociology Within the Bounds of Pure Reason. American Journal of Sociology, Vol. 84, No. 2 pp. 366-385
But with respect to the penseé sauvage, this reliance on the deep structure of Western thought, with its assimilation of the reproduction of people to the reproduction of goods as a kinship of substance, cannot do for the science to which we now aspire. The confusion of categories is too immoderate. It puts us all, biological and social scientists alike, in the state known all too well to the practitioners of totemism: of mess and “dirt,” as Mary Douglas has taught us, of pollution and tabu. Beyond all the politics, it is of course this descent into the kingdom of tabu that ultimately makes sociobiology so fascinating. But we pay a heavy penalty in knowledge for the distinctions we are forced to surrender.
Marshall Sahlins The Use and Abuse of Biology. 1976. p.106
We seem unable to escape from this perpetual movement, back and forth between the culturalization of nature and the naturalization of culture. It frustrates our understanding at once of society and of the organic world. In the social sciences we exhaust our own symbolic capacities in an endless reproduction of utilitarian theorizing, some of it economic, some of it ecologic. In the natural sciences, it is the vulgar and scientific sociobiologies. All these efforts taken together represent the modern encompassment of the sciences, both of culture and of life, by the dominant ideology of possessive individualism… Give it its due: sociobiology is a Scientific Totemism.
Marshall Sahlins The Use and Abuse of Biology. 1976. pp. 105-106