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From Politik als Beruf to Politics as a Vocation

The Translation, Transformation, and Reception of Max Weber's Lecture

Jens Borchert

Max Weber's 1919 lecture Politik als Beruf is still considered a classical text in the social sciences. The reception of the text in the Anglo-Saxon world has been profoundly shaped by the translation provided by Hans H. Gerth and C. Wright Mills, first appearing in 1946. Their Politics as a Vocation is more than a vivid transposition of Weber's rather peculiar German rhetoric—it is rendered in a way that suggests a certain interpretation and makes others highly improbable. The present article traces the reception of Weber's text back to certain decisions made by the translators after World War II. It argues that the translation emphasized philosophical and ethical parts of the text at the expense of others that were more geared toward a political sociology of modern politics. Moreover, the adoption of Weber's approach in empirical research was hindered if not foreclosed by a distorted presentation of his key typologies and some central concepts.

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Kari Palonen

This article is a thought experiment. It constructs ideal types of political representation in the sense of Max Weber. Inspired by Quentin Skinner and others, the aim is to give a rhetorical turn to contemporary debates on representation. The core idea is to claim an ‘elective affinity’ (Wahlverwandschaft, as Weber says following Goethe) between forms of representation and rhetorical genres of their justification. The four ideal types of political representation are designated as plebiscitary, diplomatic, advocatory, and parliamentary, corresponding to the epideictic, negotiating, forensic, and deliberative genres of rhetoric as the respective ways to plausibly appeal to the audience. I discuss historical approximations of each type of representation and apply the combination of representation and rhetorical genres to the understanding of the European Union’s unconventional system of ‘separation of powers’. I conclude with supporting parliamentary representation, based on dissensus and debate, with complements from other types.

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Barbara Thériault

How does one deal with diversity in an organization known to be hostile to it? Drawing on a Weberian perspective I present in this article one case occurring in actual historical practice: that of Inspector Bobkowski, a teacher, chief of the political education unit at the Berlin police academy and training center, and a hobby historian. With an eye to the case at hand as well as other efforts to deal with difference under the Weimar Republic encountered during my fieldwork, I attempt to uncover the motives underlying the action of officers who contributed to the promotion of diversity within the police force in Germany. Inquiring into their motives enables me to construct an ideal type of a “carrier of diversity,” which, I argue, shares affinities with a liberal agenda of civic equality.

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Donald Reid

Le Nouvel Esprit du capitalisme is a socio-cultural response to the neoliberal explanation of the successes and failures of capitalism in France during the last three decades in terms of individual rational actors and markets. Luc Boltanski and Eve Chiapello draw their inspiration from critical readings of sociologists who interpreted earlier incarnations of capitalism, including Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, Max Weber, and Emile Durkheim.

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Gemeinschaft und Gesellschaft

The Reception of a Conceptual Dichotomy

Niall Bond

Ferdinand Tönnies's oeuvre Gemeinschaft und Gesellschaft, published in 1887, has been seminal for the social and human sciences in general, and is no less interesting for intellectual historians and theoreticians of concept formation in particular. Tönnies subscribed to the belief that terms could be rendered less ambiguous, defining the words Gemeinschaft and Gesellschaft more narrowly than their contemporary usage. In so doing, he sought to reconcile a heterogeneous agenda initially consisting in offering a diagnosis of vast historical developments and later consisting in providing heuristic tools to analyze individual relationships. This article examines the origins of the concepts and their politicized transformation prior to and subsequent to the publication of his work. As such, it takes on the transformation of Gemeinschaft during the romantic era and its revival by Germany's nationalist right wing and contrasts it with its appropriation by left-leaning communitarian movements in the English-speaking world. The polysemy of the terms in the German language accounts for their semantic evolution, for amalgamations of meanings within Tönnies's conceptual system, and for conundrums in translating the work into English or French. Although the terms were erroneously supposed to have been immediately applicable as ideal types, their adaptation, inter alia by Max Weber or by Talcott Parsons in the form of pattern variables, has been important in the reception of Tönnies's work in the social sciences.

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Spatial Relations and the Struggle for Space

Friedrich Ratzel’s Impact on German Education from the Wilhelmine Empire to the Third Reich

Troy Paddock

Max Weber, to cite one example. 6 Similarly, the importance of the state as a human achievement was a staple of late nineteenth-century German historiography. 7 Yet, as one contemporary admirer of Ratzel noted, “Prof. Ratzel’s Anthropogeography may

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Timo Pankakoski and Antto Vihma

fragmentation have emerged to describe modernity. Max Weber perceived modernity in terms of rationalization, disenchantment, and secularization and juxtaposed traditional authority with the modern “polytheism” of values. 81 Many of his categories found their

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Pınar Melis Yelsalı Parmaksız

(Saarbrücken: VDM Verlag Dr. Müller, 2010). 16 Peter Suber, “Paternalism,” in Philosophy of Law: An Encyclopedia, Vol. 1743 , ed. Christopher Berry Gray (New York: Routledge, 2012), 632–635. 17 Max Weber defines the patrimonial state as a traditional type of

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Niklas Olsen, Irene Herrmann, Håvard Brede Aven, and Mohinder Singh

sociologist Talcott Parsons translated Max Weber's theory of social action and with it his concept of Technik . Accordingly, Parsons used technology as a synonym for instrumental rationality. At the same time, other sociologists identified the term with

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Anton Jansson, Kai Vogelsang, and Nele Kuhlmann

being subjected, and on the other hand, Max Weber’s, Hans Jonas’s, and R. Jay Wallace’s concepts that discuss the fact of subjecting. Vogelmann brings forward the argument that in spite of the stress on one side all approaches also refer to the other