Max Weber (1864 – 1920), who died in the last global pandemic, is the father of modern sociology. His approaches to research and methodology were ground breaking within academia. His definitions have been exceptional, for example, the state as having a monopoly on the legitimate use of physical force and defining charismatic leaders, bureaucracy, methodological individualism and controversially the Protestant Work ethic. Max Weber also had some anti-Polish views which is bizarre and potentially evil. Below are notes on his theories in relation to nationalism, war and strategic ends.
Weber’s Theory of Nationalism: power & prestige
Facts & Figures
List of previous final exam questions:
How did Weber define and explain nationalism? What role did prestige and power play in his understanding of nationalism?
Why is there no sociological definition of nationalism according to Weber?
Discuss the constructed ethnicity Weber argued.
- To what extent, if at all, Weber developed clear concepts and theories of ethnicity, nationality, nation-state and nationalism.
- Guenther Roth & Claus Wittich (eds), Economy and Society (2 vols., Berkeley & Los Angeles, 1978). vol.1, `Ethnic Groups’, pp.385-398
- H.H.Gerth & C.Wright Mills (eds), From Max Weber: Essays in Sociology (New York, 1946). `Structures of Power’, pp.159-179 (most of which is also to be found in Economy and Society, vol.2, pp.910-926).
- Beetham, D. (1974). Max Weber and the Theory of Modern Politics. London. Chapter 5 `Nationalism and the nation-state’
- M. Guibernau, Nationalisms: The Nation-State and Nationalism in the Twentieth Century (Cambridge, 1996), chapter 1 `Nationalism in classical sociological theory’.
- Defining, Background, Foundations
- Of all the writing undertaken in Max Weber’s 56 years, only two significant passages use social science to address the question of nationalism. In order to ascertain why Weber never explicitly formulated a theory of nationalism, this paper will do the following.
Posthumous Works Should Be Questioned: MAJOR point about his papers on Nations and Ethnicity: We would never have known about Weber’s thoughts on ethnic groups and nations had his wife not published it posthumously by Marianne Weber in Economy & Society. It wasn’t his finest material. He says at the end of ethnic groups that there is no ideal type for ethnicity. It is fragmentary like Economy & Society in general.
Nation & Ethnic Group: Weber would never have had it published because there is no ideal type here.Weber’s ethnicity text is associated with a Gemeinshaft concept: it is a belief not a fact: it is a belief in relationships that are rationally calculated: it is pre-modern: it might not work in large scale societies. NOTE that he did study subjective texts
- Outline the Nation and Ethnic Groups papers and argue Weber forwards an instrumentalist view of these phenomena.
- Argue that Weber’s ultimate value is informed by the same value-laden pursuit: political power and prestige of the German nation-state.
- Conclude that Weber never formulated a sociological explanation of nationalism for two reasons,
- a) the concept had not fully developed as central in the modernization process during his lifetime AND
- b) he recognized the subjectivity and amorphous tendency of this field of study.