A Hundred Years from Weber: Science as Vocation and the Resurgence of National Populism1

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2 Scopus citations


It has been 100 years since the death of Max Weber and 102 years since the publication of his classic essay “Science as a Vocation.” I review here several of the main ideas advanced in the essay. I then seek to apply a Weberian perspective to the analysis of the rise of national populism by considering first the historical-structural origins of the present situation and second the meaning that it has for supporters of this movement. The evolution of world capitalism has had consequences that bear directly on the situation of the middle and working-classes in the advanced countries and in their subsequent political reactions. Applying interpretive perspectives and using recent sociological field studies of the populist grass roots, I seek to understand the meaning that the situation has for supporters of the movement and its political implications. This understanding has direct consequences for current attempts to reverse a movement that has changed the course of recent history in the United States and elsewhere in the developed world.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1079-1092
Number of pages14
JournalSociological Forum
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • politics
  • populism
  • science
  • social movements
  • theory
  • weber

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science


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