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The article examines Max Weber’s Politics as a Vocation within the broader context of his sociology through an examination of the unintended consequences of action. This speech, alongside Science as a Vocation, from the end of his life is interpreted as a classic example of Weber’s pessimistic sociology in which the unintended consequences of action are typically negative and potentially destructive. The article, however, concludes with an examination of other political articles and speeches from the years immediately following the end of the War in which Weber examines the positive prospects for political reform. Despite Weber’s admiration for the success of democratic institutions in the United States and Great Britain, Weber’s legacy, such as his references to ‘caesarism’ in connection with mass democracy, is entangled controversially with the politico-juridical publications of Carl Schmitt and the crisis of democracy resulting in European fascism.


Institute for Religion, Politics, and Society

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Journal Article

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