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Max Weber and the Theory of Modern Politics

ISBN: 978-0-7456-0118-2
304 pages
January 1991, Polity
Max Weber and the Theory of Modern Politics (0745601189) cover image
Max Weber's writings on the politics of Wilhelmine in Germany and the Russian revolutions of 1905 and 1917 are much less well known than his contributions to historical and theoretical sociology, yet they are essential to any overall assessment of his thought. Drawing on these writings, still mostly untranslated, David Beetham offers the most comprehensive account available in English of Weber's political theory.

The book explores Weber's central concern with the prospects for liberal Parliamentarism in authoritarian societies and in an age of mass politics and bureaucratic organization, and shows how this concern led him to a revision of democratic theory which is still influential. It argues that Weber's analyzis of the class basis of contemporary politics necessitate a modification in some of the accepted interpretations of his sociology of modern capitalism. A special feature of the book is its full treatment of the extensive German literature on Weber's political thought.

This second edition contains a substantial new critical introduction and an expanded bibliography. Otherwise the text of the widely acclaimed first edition remains unaltered. This is a book which adds an essential dimension to the understanding of Max Weber for students of sociology and politics who have previously only approached his work through his sociological writings.

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Introduction to the Second Edition.

1. Max Weber as Political Theorist.

2. Weber as Protagonist of Borgeois Values.

3. The Limits of Bureaucratic Rationality.

4. Parliment and Democracy.

5. Nationalism and the Nation State.

6. Society, Class and State: Germany.

7. Society, Class and State: Russia.

8. Class Society and Plebiscitary Leadership.

9.Social Science and Political Practice.

Bibliography.

Index.
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David Beetham is a Professor of Politics at Leeds University. He is the author of Marxists in Face of Fascism and an expert on modern European social and political theory.
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'The outstanding work on Weber's political ideas.' Frank Parkin

'A very reliable guide through the controversial political philosopy of Max Weber ... impressive for its thoroughness.' Wolfgang Mommsen

'An excellent study.' Steven Lukes, New Society

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