Jürgen Kaube

Max Weber. Ein Leben zwischen den Epochen

© Rowohlt Verlag, Reinbek bei Hamburg, 2014Jürgen Kaube: Max Weber. Ein Leben zwischen den Epochen © Rowohlt Verlag, Reinbek bei Hamburg, 2014With an admirably light touch, Kaube creates an intellectual panorama where the theories on capitalism of Georg Simmel and Werner Sombart are to be found alongside Kafka’s reception of an essay on bureaucracy by Alfred Weber, and Max Weber’s pupils Robert Michels, Georg Lukács und Carl Schmitt, who later became affiliated with various totalitarian persuasions. Kaube’s brief remark on the Soviet regime being a “bureaucratic order, the main feature of which was to eliminate the opposition” shows that one can still use concepts of this grandfather of the twentieth century to shed light on developments in the latter part of the century. “Was this notion of viewing a whole country like an organisation not a literati fantasy? Yes, but an effective one”. The Soviet Union was seen as a “rational regime” that lacked the renewing impetus of democratic elections. Max Weber is a great teacher, not on account of any particular theories, but because he formulated concepts that remain flexible for new realities. This biography shows where they came from, but above all, it shows how much can still be done with them. What more does one want from a classic?

Gustav Seibt: „Der Großvater des zwanzigsten Jahrhunderts“
© Süddeutsche Zeitung, 24 January 2014

Jürgen Kaube
Max Weber. Ein Leben zwischen den Epochen
Rowohlt Verlag, Reinbek bei Hamburg, 2014
ISBN 978-3-87134-575-3
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