Max Weber Veranstaltungen

Max Weber and the World of Empire


Prof. Dr. Sam Whimster
Prof. Dr. Sam Whimster

Abstract des Vortrags von Sam Whimster.

Max Weber is usually thought about politically in the context of the nation state, not least because of Wolfgang J. Mommsen’s highly influential »Max Weber und die deutsche Politik«. Weber is also, quite rightly, a major source on the political sociology of nation states. So there appears to be symmetry between his politics (nationalist) and his sociology, and this has the result of making the nation state the accepted unit of analysis more generally. This presentation, however, argues that Weber’s own context was empire, the Wilhelmine Reich, and that Weber’s caustic criticisms of Kaiser Wilhelm II should not be taken as a denigration of the German Empire per se. Late nineteenth century Europe, we need to remind ourselves, was a world of competing empires: Russian, Austrian, French (before 1870), German, and British with the United States as the coming power to rival the European empires. In terms of foreign policy, constitution, ethnicity and culture empires are not reducible to nation states. Instead, especially with Weber, we should think of the unit of analysis as empire alongside that of nation state.

Sam Whimster is Professor at the Global Policy Institute, London and Fellow at the Käthe Hamburger Kolleg, Bonn. He is a sociologist and he studied for his PhD at the London School of Economics. With Hans Henrik Bruun he has recently published »Max Weber. Collected methodological writings«. He is the editor of the Zeitschrift »Max Weber Studies«. In 2008 he organised a conference on the financial and banking crisis, which led to the publication »Reforming the City. Responses to the Global Financial Crisis«. He is currently working on a typology of empire and bureaucracy.

Von Max Weber Stiftung

The Max Weber Foundation promotes global research, focused on the areas of social sciences, cultural studies and the humanities. Our research is conducted at ten institutes in various countries across the globe with different and independent fields of focus. Through our globally operating institutes, we are able to contribute to the communication and networking between Germany and our host countries or regions. By promoting academic dialogue and merging academic and non-academic employees from several countries with different cultural backgrounds, the Max Weber Foundation is able to strengthen the internationalization of research.

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