Rowman and Littlefield International
A Political Style of Thinking

A Political Style of Thinking

By Kari Palonen

Publication Date: Dec 2016

Pages 236

ECPR Press

Hardback 9781785522659
£65.00 €90.00 $100.00
Paperback 9781785522703
£30.00 €41.00 $46.00

Max Weber studies have been radically transformed since the 1980s. The author continues this revision by reading Weber as a thoroughly political thinker. Weber's key concept is Chance, a concept that allows us to study politics as contingent activity and to understand both the actions of politicians and the presence of the political aspect in research. This collection contains essays from 1999 to 2014 and a new introduction. The first part deals with Weber's concept of politics and the politician as an ideal type, the second discusses Weber's reinterpretations of key political concepts of freedom, democracy, parliament, nation and the state. The third part links Weber's concept of ‘objectivity' with the parliamentary style of politics. The essays set Weber's political thought in relationship to his predecessors (Constant, Bagehot, Nietzsche), contemporaries (Sombart, Schmitt, Benjamin), later (Arendt, Sartre) or contemporary scholars (Skinner, Koselleck) and current Weber studies (Hennis, Scaff, Ghosh).

Acknowledgements vii

Chapter One – Introduction: Max Weber as a Political Thinker 1


Chapter Two – Four Times of Politics: Policy, Polity, Politicking and

Politicisation 17

Chapter Three – Politics or the Political? An Historical Perspective on a

Contemporary Non-Debate 29

Chapter Four – Sombart and Weber on Professional Politicians 39

Chapter Five – Max Weber’s Three Types of Professional Politicians:

A Rhetorical Approach 53


Chapter Six – Max Weber’s Reconceptualisation of Freedom 73

Chapter Seven – Was Max Weber a ‘Nationalist’? A Study in the Rhetoric

of Conceptual Change 89

Chapter Eight – Imagining Max Weber’s Reply to Hannah Arendt:

Remarks on the Arendtian Critique of Representative Democracy 103

Chapter Nine – The State as a Chance Concept: Max Weber’s

De-Substantialisation and Neutralisation of the Concept 119


Chapter Ten – Max Weber, Parliamentarism and the Rhetorical Culture

of Politics 137

Chapter Eleven – ‘Objectivity’ as Fair Play: Max Weber’s Parliamentary

Redescription of a Normative Concept 153

Chapter Twelve – Max Weber’s Rhetoric of ‘Objectivity’:

The Parliament as a Paradigm for Scholarly Disputes 169

Chapter Thirteen – Was Max Weber Wrong about Westminster? 185

List of Abbreviations for the Weber Editions 201

Bibliography 203

Index 221

Kari Palonen has a PhD in Political Science from the University of Helsinki. He is Professor of Political Science at University of Jyväskylä since 1983, with emeritus status since 2015. In addition he has been Academy of Finland Professor in two 5 years periods (1998-2003, 2008-2012), Director of the Finnish Centre of Excellence in Political Thought and Conceptual Change (2006-2011), co-founder of the History of Concepts Group 1998 and co-chair of the ECPR SG Political Concepts since 2015. His research Interests include: the concept of politics and its history; political thought and methodology of Max Weber; principles and practices of conceptual history; parliamentary concepts, procedure and rhetoric.

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