Weber’s Nationalism vs. Weberian Methodological Individualism: Implications for Contemporary Social Theory


Most contemporary sociologists’ aversion towards nationalism contrasts with the alleged nationalist views of one of the key classics of sociology, Max Weber. The considerable accumulated scholarship on the issue presents a unified belief that Weber was indeed a nationalist yet varies considerably in the significance attributed to the issue. Most authors entrench Weber’s nationalism within biographical studies of Weber’s political views as an individual beyond Weberian sociological theorizing. A different approach suggests that the notions of nationality in Weber’s works do have certain theoretical value as potentially capable of enriching the current understanding of the nation. The present article aims to bring together the notions of nationality dispersed within Weber’s various writings with the Weberian methodological individualism. The main argument of the article is that individualism and nationalism in Weber’s thought are not a contradiction despite the collectivism associated with the essentialist view of the nation. Instead, they represent a reflection of the fundamental shift from an earlier view of society as a meganthropos towards the pluralist problematization of the micromacro link definitive for the modern social theory. Analyzing the internal logic of this change provides new insights into the currently debated issue of retraditionalization, especially in relation to the ongoing renaissance of nationalism.

Author Biography

Marharyta Fabrykant, National Research University Higher School of Economics, Moscow, Russia and Belarusian State University, Minsk, Belarus

Marharyta Fabrykant is a Senior Research Fellow at the National Research University Higher School of Economics, Moscow, and an Associate Professor at the Belarusian State University, Minsk. Her research focuses on nationalism and national identity in comparative cross-cultural perspective, with a special focus on Eastern European nation-building. Her most recent publication include: Fabrykant, M. (2019). Russian-speaking Belarusian Nationalism: An Ethnolinguistic Identity Without a Language? Europe-Asia Studies, 71(1), 117-136; Fabrykant, M., & Magun, V. (2019). Dynamics of National Pride Attitudes in Post-Soviet Russia, 1996–2015. Nationalities Papers, 47(1), 20-37.


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How to Cite
Fabrykant, M. (2019). Weber’s Nationalism vs. Weberian Methodological Individualism: Implications for Contemporary Social Theory. Changing Societies & Personalities, 3(2), 124–138. doi:10.15826/csp.2019.3.2.066