WSN 2023/24 EVENT SERIES: Max Weber and the Culture of Anarchy, 25 years later

Max Weber and the Culture of Anarchy, 25 years later

Our next online activity is dedicated to a singular work in the Weber literature, Max Weber and the Culture of Anarchy (1999) in the 25th anniversary of its publication. Sam Whimster, the editor, sheds light on the genesis of the book in a short essay available on our blog:

Max Weber and the Culture of Anarchy is a book that came out of the circumstances of the 1990s. Under Gorbachev Russia pursued glasnost and released Eastern bloc countries from Soviet hegemony. In 1990 the German Democratic Republic and the Federal German Republic were re-united. (…) There was an anarchist moment in the 1990s. Scott Lash and I had picked up on that with reference to the community-directed social philosophy of Alasdair MacIntyre and of Richard Rorty in the US – with Wilhelm Hennis advocating a philosophical anthropology. Modernity, we suggested, could not hold. Ethics and conviviality are generated not just from below but between people themselves. Phenomenological intersubjectivism became shared and created lifestyles (…). After the Cold War, what was the purpose of the state other than the discredited territorial organization of violence between states?”

Against that backdrop, the volume gathered scholars from the US, UK and Germany (including our own Edith Hanke) to discuss Weber’s relationship to libertarian culture writ large around the time of the First World War: from modern art and poetry to Russian literature (Dostoyevsky and Tolstoi), and anarchist currents. The book highlighted Weber’s time in Ascona, Switzerland over the Easters of 1913 and 1914 – with Max’s correspondence with Marianne during those stays collected in the volume as well. If our time appears to echo the early 1990s in terms of instability and uncertainty, if not the same optimism, it is in no small part due to the delayed aftershocks from that conjuncture’s many transformations and conflicts.

Join us for a conversation with volume editor Sam Whimster and discussants Yannis Ktennas (Greece), Lucía Pinto (Argentina) and Victor Strazzeri (Brazil), about Max Weber and the Culture of Anarchy on March 20th, at 6 p.m. (CET)!

You are welcome to post this widely and invite everyone – Weber-scholar or otherwise – to join us as well. To stay updated on the latest information about our events, be sure to follow us on Facebook! We’ll be sending more details on the events regularly.

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