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Priests, Prophets, Jews and Germans : the political basis of Max Weber's conception of ethno-national solidarities

  • Y. Michal Bodemann

When we raise the question of how ethnic groups are formed, how they evolve and how they persist over time, it is here as elsewhere good practice to start by interrogating the classical contributions to sociology. Of the sociological classics, Max Weber provides unquestionably the most significant early discussions and the most explicit contribution on ethnicity. Michael Hechter (1976, 1978) has, most directly perhaps, drawn attention to Weber's contribution and in turn tried to resolve, by means of his concept of the ‘cultural division of labour’ what he saw as difficulties in Weber's typology of class and status groups. Hechter thus addressed a theme arising from Marxist debates on class, race and ethnicity (e.g., Bonacich, 1972, 1973) in the early seventies that in recent years has reached a high level of maturity (e.g., Wolpe, 1986). Neither Hechter's thesis nor the Marxist discussion, however, deal with what I believe lies at the core of Weber's conception of ethnicity.

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European Journal of Sociology / Archives Européennes de Sociologie
  • ISSN: 0003-9756
  • EISSN: 1474-0583
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