Weber Study Group
About the group
The group is open to anyone with an interest in Max Weber, whether that interest is learning more about Weber, catching up on latest developments in Weber research, presenting a seminar paper, trying out research ideas or simply getting together in an informal setting to exchange ideas. Please contact convenor for more information.
Areas of interest
These days an interest in Max Weber is fairly broadly defined. There is a 'biographical Weber' which connects the man himself to his family and his milieu, bearing in mind that his wife Marianne was a pioneer in gender studies and his brother Alfred an important figure in civilizational analysis. There is a 'political Weber' which looks not just at his political sociology but his relation to the history of political theory as well as Wilhelmine politics. The theoretical side of Weber embraces the great methodological debates of his time: the interpretive v. positivist social science, the particularising v. the lawlike, and partisanship v. objectivity; also how Weber's own ambitions for sociology should be seen. These issues are still relevant, and for example the recent debates on realism and social research have analogues in the disputes c. 1900. The 'religious' Weber includes reform movements, disenchantment/re-enchantment, and secular negation.
There is, and always has been, a strong application side to Weber studies: organisational sociology, economic sociology, theory of the firm, the study of political elites and political parties, nationalism and ethnicity and so on.
We are also coming into an era where the terms of globalisation are being increasingly determined by southern hemisphere countries. Weber was always quizzical about occidental rationalism, which for him was the common intellectual driver across the main societal spheres in the rise of the West. OECD countries are currently rather losing the plot on the value and rationality structures of modernity, while southern hemisphere countries show increasing confidence about the sort of modernity, capitalism and values they wish to develop. Weber's writings on civilization and Kultur are being re-evaluated against this background.
Finally, it has become clear that Weber wrote far more than previously supposed. The standard corpus in English is the two volumes of Economy and Society, the four volumes on the world religions, and slim volumes on methodology and politics. The Max Weber Gesamtausgabe is now up to a metre and a half of shelf space and will top out at two metres. Some of this is making it into English translation. For example, his methodological writings will appear in a new 700 page English translation in early 2011 as part of the Routledge 'Weber in Translation' series. His lectures are now being published for the first time by the MWG and cover finance, economics, the labour question, the agrarian question and the sociology of the state. Because these are in note form they will be very difficult to translate - but already they display the bedrock of Weber's knowledge out of which he mined his studies on capitalism and other topics. There are also around 3,500 letters written by Max Weber still in existence, most of which are now reaching the light of day.
Please watch this space for details.
The Weber Study Group Annual Report is now available.
Contact the Convenor
School of Social and Political Science
University of Edinburgh
Send an email.
School of Humanities, Languages, & Social Sciences
University of Salford
Send an email.
7 May 2014
BSA Weber Study Group: Max Weber, Markets and Economic Sociology (organised with the Social Theory Centre at the University of Warwick)
University of Warwick, UK
5-6 September 2013
Max Weber and China: Culture, Law and Capitalism
SOAS, University of London, UK
3 May 2013
The press, journalism and public opinion: Seminar-workshop 2
University of Manchester, UK
7 December 2012
The University, the Scholar and the Student Seminar 1
University of Salford, Manchester, UK
1-3 September 2010
Max Weber and the Reconfiguring modernity Colloquium
Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge, UK -The theme was 'Reconfiguring Modernity'.
2004, Centenary conference to mark the first publication of The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism.
- A new blog: Max Weber in the World, is now available on Hypotheses.org - Hypotheses is a publication platform for academic blogs, which “enables researchers to provide real-time updates of developments in their own research”. It is run by the Centre for Open Electronic Publishing (Cléo, France), a unit that brings together the CNRS, the EHESS, the Aix-Marseille Université and the Université d’Avignon. Cléo provides other tools via the OpenEdition portal: Revues.org, a platform for journals in the humanities and social sciences and Calenda, the social sciences calendar”.
- Max Weber in the World is a blog dedicated to the special theme of the Max Weber Foundation – and the German Institutes for Humanities abroad. It gathers audio, video and reading materials from the 2 day conference organised in July 2012 by the newly re-named Max Weber Foundation for the 10 year Jubilee of its creation around the theme ‘Max Weber in the World’ and also pledges regular updates on this topic.
- Max Weber’s Collected Methodological Writings, trans. H. H. Bruun, ed. H. H. Bruun and S. Whimster, London: Routledge, 2012.
- The international journal, Max Weber Studies, appears two times a year. For more information check out the Max Weber Studies website.
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