Max Weber & Democratic Politics


In this work, Peter Breiner explores the implications of Max Weber's political sociology for political judgment and democratic theory. In the process, he rejects what is problematic and retains what is valuable in the theorist's political thought and then uses the results to elaborate upon and extend democratic theory. Breiner demonstrates the tension between the subjective and objective dimensions of Weber's logic of rationality, and describes how Weber exploits this tension in judging the feasibility of social and political forms such as socialism, radical democracy, capitalism, and the nation. Breiner develops a concept of participatory democracy from within Weber's logic of power and legitimate domination. Unlike any of the many existing arguments for participatory democracy, it claims that direct participation in politics requires that citizens be willing to take moral risks and take responsibility for the paradoxical outcomes of political action. The book situates Weber in relation to greatpolitical theorists of the past, such as Thucydides, Machiavelli, Rousseau, and Gramsci, as well as engaging some of the most important Weberian scholarship. Rigorous, tightly argued, and concise, the volume will interest both political and social theorists: the former because of the focus on judgment and participatory democracy and the latter for the author's thorough and novel treatment of Weber.

Additional information

Publisher: Place of publication:
  • Ithaca, NY
Publication year:
  • 1996


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