chapter  4
12 Pages

Max Weber (1864–1920): Politics and the sociological equivocations of the nation-state

There are good reasons to put the relationship between politics and scholarship at the centre of this reconstruction of Max Weber’s ideas on the nation-state. Both activities were undoubtedly very dear to him and his statements on both subjects are somewhat contradictory: the claims on the neutrality of science do not necessarily or automatically go down well with those on the worth of the German nation. We are entitled to ask, then, whether Weber’s undoubted political nationalism translates into methodological nationalism in his scholarly work. An appropriate answer to this question, it seems to me, requires an understanding of Weber’s thesis that there was something particularly obscure in the claim to unity between nations and states in modernity alongside their effective disjuncture. There is a certain sociological equivocation arising from this seperation that constitutes the core of Weber’s assessment of the nation-state’s position in modernity.