Weber’s Nationalism vs. Weberian Methodological Individualism: Implications for Contemporary Social Theory
Most contemporary sociologists’ aversion towards nationalism
contrasts with the alleged nationalist views of one of the key
classics of sociology, Max Weber. The considerable accumulated
scholarship on the issue presents a unified belief that Weber was
indeed a nationalist yet varies considerably in the significance
attributed to the issue. Most authors entrench Weber’s nationalism
within biographical studies of Weber’s political views as an individual
beyond Weberian sociological theorizing. A different approach
suggests that the notions of nationality in Weber’s works do have
certain theoretical value as potentially capable of enriching the
current understanding of the nation. The present article aims to bring
together the notions of nationality dispersed within Weber’s various
writings with the Weberian methodological individualism. The main
argument of the article is that individualism and nationalism in Weber’s
thought are not a contradiction despite the collectivism associated
with the essentialist view of the nation. Instead, they represent a
reflection of the fundamental shift from an earlier view of society as
a meganthropos towards the pluralist problematization of the micromacro link definitive for the modern social theory. Analyzing the
internal logic of this change provides new insights into the currently
debated issue of retraditionalization, especially in relation to the
ongoing renaissance of nationalism.
This monograph was developed as part of a larger research project entitled Peculiarities of National Identity of Lithuania and Belarus in the Context of European Integration, the aim of which was to conduct a comparative analysis of national identity in these two proximate but very different nation-states. The work was carried out by researchers at Belarusian State University (Minsk, Belarus), Vytautas Magnus University (Kaunas, Lithuania) and the University of St. Thomas (St. Paul, Minnesota, USA). The research was conducted in accordance with an agreement between the Government of the Republic of Belarus and the Government of the Republic of Lithuania on matters regarding cooperation in science and technology as determined by the State Committee on Science and Technology of the Republic of Belarus and the Ministry of Education and Science of the Republic of Lithuania.
“Empire Speaks Out” is a result of the collaborative international research project whose participants aim to reconstruct the origin, development, and changing modes of self-description and representation of the heterogeneous political, social, and cultural space of the Russian Empire. The collection offers an alternative to the study of empire as an essentialized historical phenomenon, i.e. to those studies that construe empire retrospectively by projecting the categories of modern nation-centered social sciences onto the imperial past. It stresses dynamic transformations, adaptation, and reproduction of imperial patterns of sociability and governance. Chapters of the collection show how languages of rationalization derived from modern public politics, scientific discourses of applied knowledge (law, sociology, political economy, geography, ethnography, physical anthropology) and social self-organization influenced processes of transformation of the imperial space.
The diverse and contested nature of the contemporary skinhead scene makes it impossible to identify a single common body regime, or set of gender norms, characteristic of the skinhead (sub)culture. This chapter explores one example of how these fraternal bonds and spaces are constituted. It pays particular attention to practices of the body (individual and collective) within the group and how these practices were enacted to confirm its skinhead identity while shaping a particular regime of closeness and intimacy. It considers, firstly, the group as a particular form of fraternity based on homosocial bonds of friendship, closeness and (dis)trust. Secondly, the aesthetics and the ethics of intimacy within the group are discussed. In particular practices of displaying the – naked and bare – body of the skinhead are considered as well as tests of, and conflicts over, the meaning of the intimacies that these practices forge. Finally, the chapter explores these practices in the context of the wider and competing masculinities through which they are enacted.
The article discusses several approaches to the study of Soviet society drawing on Max Weber’s theoretical models or following a broadly-understood Weberian tradition in historical sociology. Weberian perspectives have been used for the analysis of the Russian Revolution of 1917 and its aftermath. The early Bolshevik Party has been characterized as a community of “ideological virtuosi” while its further development has been described either as “incomplete rationalization” or as a re-traditionalization. In the article, it is argued that employing the post-Weberian multiple modernities approach allows us to overcome some of the difficulties that have emerged in this case. In particular, the article focuses on Johann Arnason’s analysis of the Soviet model of modernity. For Arnason, the Soviet model incorporated both the legacy of imperial transformation from above and the revolutionary vision of a new society. He claims that communism represented a distinctive version of modernity rather than a deviation from the modernizing mainstream. In recent historical studies of the Soviet period, two approaches have been formed stressing the modernity of the Soviet regime or its neo-traditionalist aspects. The distinction between these approaches has been discussed by Michael David-Fox. The article considers the parallels between the new historical studies of Soviet society, on the one hand, and both Weberian and post-Weberian sociological perspectives, on the other.
Leo Tolstoy and Max Weber on value neutrality of university research The problem of value neutrality of science is considered on the basis of works by Leo Tolstoy and Max Weber. In the first part of the article, the statements on the value neutrality of scientific knowledge and university teaching by Weber and Tolstoy are made explicit and analyzed in a comparative perspective. In the second part, the central problem of Tolstoy and Weber, that is, a rational choice of the value paradigm, is studied systematically. Differences in their assumptions and conclusions are shown. In the third part, a historical commentary to the context of Tolstoys and Webers works is given. The works are treated as episodes in a wider modern history of the value neutralization of the scientific knowledge and university teaching. The specifics of this process are tightly connected with the fundamental principles of the modern research university (the Humboldtian model of university).
The author addresses the question of the relationship between religious and national identity, in particular to those cases where there is their identifi cation. The author focuses on the Spanish experience of 1930-s, when formed the ideological construction of the so-called national-Catholicism was formed, justifying special spiritual mission of the nation, based on its alleged inherent rejection of democracy. Over the next few decades, the National Catholicism played the role of the offi cial ideology of the Franco regime. The article compares the Spanish experience with the situation in today's Russia, where, according to the author, there is a tendency for "nationalization" of religion, its politicization and indoctrination.
Russia’s Skinheads: exploring and rethinking subcultural lives provides a through examination of the phenomenon of skinheads, explaining its nature and its significance, and assessing how far Russian skinhead subculture is at the “lumpen” end of the extreme nationalist ideological spectrum. There are large numbers of skinheads in Russia, responsible for a significant number of xenophobic attacks, including 97 deaths in 2008 alone, making this book relevant to Russian specialists as well as to sociologists of youth subculture. It provides a practical example of how to investigate youth subculture in depth over an extended period – in this case through empirical research following a specific group over six years – and goes on to argue that Russian skinhead subculture is not a direct import from the West, and that youth cultural practices should not be reduced to expressions of consumer choice. It presents an understanding of the Russian skinheads as a product of individuals` whole, and evolving, lives, and thereby compels sociologists to rethink how they conceive the nature of subcultures.
It is argued that Weberian concepts such as 'charisma of reason' and 'patrimonial bureaucracy' can be applied to the Soviet system at different stages of its evolution. Neo-Weberian theories which are not based directly on Weber's ideas can also be relevant for the study of Soviet society. But theoretical approaches of historical sociology should be complemented with more empirically oriented social history of the Soviet period.
Several approaches to the concept of fatherhood present in Western sociological tradition are analyzed and compared: biological determinism, social constructivism and biosocial theory. The problematics of fatherhood and men’s parental practices is marginalized in modern Russian social research devoted to family and this fact makes the traditional inequality in family relations, when the father’s role is considered secondary compared to that of mother, even stronger. However, in Western critical men’s studies several stages can be outlined: the development of “sex roles” paradigm (biological determinism), the emergence of the hegemonic masculinity concept, inter-disciplinary stage (biosocial theory). According to the approach of biological determinism, the role of a father is that of the patriarch, he continues the family line and serves as a model for his ascendants. Social constructivism looks into man’s functions in the family from the point of view of masculine pressure and establishing hegemony over a woman and children. Biosocial theory aims to unite the biological determinacy of fatherhood with social, cultural and personal context. It is shown that these approaches are directly connected with the level of the society development, marriage and family perceptions, the level of egality of gender order.