A Cynical Turn: Max Weber and Hannah Arendt on Value, Domination, and Political Economy

Steven Klein

University of Chicago


APSA 2013 Annual Meeting Paper
American Political Science Association 2013 Annual Meeting

Max Weber and Hannah Arendt are usually read together as theorists of the political, attacking the modern assimilation of politics to economics. They are taken to differ only in how they conceive the political: Weber, as domination, and Arendt, as action. This paper argues that readers have missed relevant differences in their thought because they have not compared Weber’s neo-Kantian philosophy of value with Arendt’s phenomenological method. Through such a comparison, this paper advances two claims. First, it argues that Arendt, unlike Weber, is a theorist not of the political but rather of the possibility of non-subsumptive relationships between politics and the economic. Second, it argues that Arendt has a more nuanced view of domination than either her admirers or critics admit. Against Weber’s charismatic politics of the extraordinary, Arendt thus opens space for a radical democratic critique of political economy, even if she does not always pursue the implications of her insights.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 32

Keywords: Max Weber, Hannah Arendt, value, domination, political economy, democratic theory

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Date posted: August 19, 2013 ; Last revised: August 23, 2013

Suggested Citation

Klein, Steven, A Cynical Turn: Max Weber and Hannah Arendt on Value, Domination, and Political Economy (2013). APSA 2013 Annual Meeting Paper; American Political Science Association 2013 Annual Meeting. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2303535

Contact Information

Steven Klein (Contact Author)
University of Chicago ( email )
1101 East 58th Street
Chicago, IL 60637
United States
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