Translating Max Weber
exile attempts to forge a new political science
It would hardly be worth a paper to demonstrate that many of the German-speaking intellectuals who fled to England and the United States carried an understanding of Max Weber with them into their new setting. The fact is too obvious. It is less obvious that the émigrés took several elements of Weber with them into their new setting, but were able to translate only some of these into the social-scientific vocabulary of their hosts. The most typical version of Weber that many of the émigrés embraced was his famous rationalisation and disenchantment thesis. This thesis was used largely to develop a cultural critique of modernity in the West in general and the United States in particular. A less typical but equally noteworthy version represented by a number of political economists sought to translate Weber's emphasis on the institutional and cultural basis for economic conduct into a setting in which formal modelling was the dominant form of discourse. This mode of analysis found its expression in the works of economists such as Adolph Lowe (1987) at The New School, who examined the political backdrop for theories of the market and market intervention. However, there is a third version of Weber that also circulated among some émigrés and which, although of great significance for the study of politics, never quite flourished in its new setting, either in Britain or in the United States.
Breiner, P. (2014)., Translating Max Weber: exile attempts to forge a new political science, in F. Rösch (ed.), Émigré scholars and the genesis of international relations, Basingstoke, Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 40-58.
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