World Politics as a Vocation
How many lectures by a German professor are still remembered a hundred years later? Not many. Yet, Max Weber’s Politik als Beruf, the lecture he gave in Munich on 28th January 1919, still gets citations from scholars, journalists, and politicians alike. Is this because Weber’s concerns are still ours, as revealed in our continuous use of words like charisma and bureaucratization? Or is it perhaps because in his lecture Weber famously distinguished between a Gesinnungsethik and a Verantwortungsethik, a distinction later revamped as logic of appropriateness and logic of consequences? Perhaps the lectures endure in our memory because of Weber’s prescience: he feared, almost rightly, that within ten years ‘a reactionary age will have broken over us’. Equally insightfully, Weber argued that in modern states only parties employing large numbers of bureaucrats could mobilize the masses. To break the bureaucratization of politics would only be possible for a charismatic figure akin to nowadays’ populist leaders. However, as Weber spoke about Politik als Beruf, he knew that the future of Germany depended less on mass parties than on the elites of foreign powers that were about to dictate the terms of the Versailles peace treaty. It is indeed world politics, understood both as the context of Weber’s lecture and as a main topic of his writings during the war years, what this workshop’s presentations discuss: they focus on the space where ethics, knowledge, and domination encounter Weltpolitik.
Welcome, Michael Zürn, Director, Global Governance Research Unit, and Álvaro Morcillo, WZB
Max Weber’s Political Ethics, Richard Lebow, King’s College London, Discussant: Klaus Schlichte, University of Bremen
Foreign Policy Expert as a Vocation, Álvaro Morcillo, WZB, Discussant: Beate Jahn, University of Sussex
On Weber's Ideas for the Study of International Relations, Edith Hanke, Bavarian Academy of Sciences and Humanities, Discussant: Michael Zürn, WZB