Max Weber in Politics and Social Thought: From Charisma to Canonization (Ideas in Context)
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Max Weber is widely regarded as one of the foundational thinkers of the twentieth century. But how did this reclusive German scholar manage to leave such an indelible mark on modern political and social thought? Max Weber in Politics and Social Thought is the first comprehensive account of Weber's wide-ranging impact on both German and American intellectuals. Drawing on a wide range of sources, Joshua Derman illuminates what Weber meant to contemporaries in the Weimar Republic and Nazi Germany and analyzes why they reached for his concepts to articulate such widely divergent understandings of modern life. It also accounts for the transformations that Weber's concepts underwent at the hands of emigre and American scholars, and in doing so, elucidates one of the major intellectual movements of the mid-twentieth century: the transatlantic migration of German thought."
for accepting Habilitation theses that would have been rejected at other German universities, and many postdoctoral students who had not yet received teaching positions were attracted to the city’s atmosphere and contributed to its free-floating intellectual life.32 As compared with other German universities, Heidelberg’s student body was distinguished by its large number of women and foreigners. Most of the latter were Poles and Russians, especially Jews who had been prohibited from university
Beziehungslehre and Gebildelehre, ed. Howard Becker (New York: Wiley, 1932); xi; Hans H. Gerth, “The Reception of Max Weber’s Work in American Sociology,” in Politics, Character, and Culture: Perspectives from Hans Gerth, ed. Joseph Bensman, Arthur Vidich, and Nobuko Gerth (Westport, CT: Greenwood, 1982), 209; and Hans H. Gerth, “Howard Becker 1899–1960,” American Sociological Review 25, no. 5 (1960): 743. While stationed with the Office of Strategic Services in Heidelberg in the spring of 1945,
NJ: Transaction, 2006), 15. I am indebted to Lawrence A. Scaff, “Max Weber’s Reception in the United States, 1920–1960,” in Das Faszinosum Max Weber: Die Geschichte seiner Geltung, ed. Karl-Ludwig Ay and Knut Borchardt (Constance: UVK, 2006), 55–89, for referring me to Shils’s unpublished text, and to Liisi Keedus for providing me with a copy. 112 Shils, Sociological Autobiography, 21, 27–8, 39–40. 113 Shils, “Some Notes,” 15, 17; Edward Shils, “Some Academics, Mainly in Chicago,” American
profounder life, not just in the form of knowledge, as [Georg] Simmel did, but as will.” In a letter to a fellow member of the George Circle, Gundolf characterized Weber as “the most significant person among the scholars known to me,” as the “originator of an economic theory that sees and values symbolically.”22 Gundolf facilitated the first meeting between Max Weber and George at the Webers’ house in 1910. Since it was nearly universal practice for George to receive visitors in his house in
moral seriousness. The essence of Franklin’s ethic was its enjoinment to treat economic activity as a morally sanctioned duty to be systematically pursued as an end in itself, not merely as a means for fulfilling material needs. It was the very embodiment of what Weber called the spirit of capitalism.28 Weber claimed that Franklin’s ethic constituted a revolutionary break with the attitudes toward commerce that had dominated European culture for over a millennium. Throughout the Middle Ages the