1st Edition

Nation and State in Max Weber Politics as Sociology

By Jack Barbalet Copyright 2023

    This book shows how Max Weber’s perceptions of the social and political world he inhabited in Wilhelmine Germany were characterized by a nationalist commitment which coloured practically every aspect of his thought, including his social scientific writings and the formulations they expound. Exploring the consequences of Weber’s ardent nationalism in a manner seldom acknowledged in existing scholarship, it considers the alignment of his commitment to liberalism and democracy with his devotion to the ideal of the German people as an ethno-racial community supported by a power-state, with the purpose of realizing the national interest of future generations of Germans. Through an analysis of a range of texts, the author contends that Weber’s liberalism is not based on universalistic principles and that Weber considered the liberty he espoused to play an important role in securing the position of a political elite trained in parliamentary institutions, which are used to shape the citizenry in the pursuit of a patriotic commitment to an expansionist, imperial state. It will therefore appeal to scholars with interests in the history of sociology and classical social theory.

    Introduction: an irrepressible political thread

    1. Politics as violence

    2. Race as a political project

    3. Citizenship and its military basis

    4. A calling for political education

    Conclusion: lessons, sociological and political


    Jack Barbalet is Professor of Sociology at the Institute for Humanities and Social Sciences at the Australian Catholic University. His research interests include sociological theory, political sociology, and the sociology of modern China. He has published extensively on the sociology of Max Weber, including Weber, Passion and Profits and Confucianism and the Chinese Self: Re-examining Max Weber’s China. His most recent book is The Theory of Guanxi and Chinese Society.