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Max Weber in the thought of Edward Shils (1910–1995) and Ernest Gellner (1925–1995): the paradox of two Weberian approaches to the understanding of nations and nationalism?

Leoussi, A. S. (2013) Max Weber in the thought of Edward Shils (1910–1995) and Ernest Gellner (1925–1995): the paradox of two Weberian approaches to the understanding of nations and nationalism? Ethnic and Racial Studies, 36 (12). pp. 1957-1976. ISSN 0141-9870

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1080/01419870.2012.681674

Abstract/Summary

This article traces the paradoxical impact of Weber's oeuvre on two major scholars of nationalism, Ernest Gellner and Edward Shils. Both these scholars died in 1995, leaving behind a rich corpus of writings on the nation and nationalism, much of which was inspired by Max Weber. The paradox is that although neither scholar accepted Weber's sceptical attitude to the concept of ‘nation’, they both used his other major concepts, such as ‘rationality’, ‘disenchantment’, ‘unintended consequences’, the ‘ethic of responsibility’ and ‘charisma’, in their very analyses of the nation and nationalism. And they both saw, each in his own way, the nation and nationalism as constitutive elements of modern societies. However, the paradox ceases being a paradox if one sees the integration, by Shils and Gellner, of concepts of the nation and of nationalism in the analysis of modernity, as a development of Weber's ideas.

Item Type:Article
Refereed:Yes
Divisions:Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Science > School of Literature and Languages > Modern Languages and European Studies > French
ID Code:34898
Uncontrolled Keywords:Max Weber, Edward Shils, Ernest Gellner, nations, nationalism, modern societies
Publisher:Taylor & Francis

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