The Subversive Weber

Subjectivation and World-Confrontation in Max Weber’s Teaching


  • Carlos Frade University of Salford-Manchester


Desire-bearing conviction, Ethics of Responsibiity, Subjectivation, Existential points, Rationalization, Passion for the Real, Value-freedom


That there is a subversive Max Weber may go unrecognized even by Marxist scholars otherwise appreciative, if critically, of Weber, to say nothing of mainstream Weber scholarship. That the subversive side of Weber’s thought and teaching lies in his figure of subjectivation or stance towards the world, is likely to be met with incredulity, even with a smug smile. Yet, it is precisely this claim what this article seeks to probe by bringing out that stance so as to delineate its pure form and disclose the subject carrying it, an operation which will in addition allow us to see how Weber’s social science is both summoned by that subject and specifically suited to study it. Seeking to grasp Weber’s thought and teaching from the standpoint of his stance involves a perspective which is consistent with the subjective disposition that Weber demands from himself and his addressees.

This is a new approach to Weber’s thought which, by prioritising its subjective determinations, is able to demonstrate its fundamental unity, which is not thematic, its consistency, as well as the way in which Weber’s theoretical developments and educational efforts spring from his stance and unfold it. Weber’s thought is shown to be grounded on an unparalleled disjunctive figure of subjectivation whose two components, held together in pure subjectivity in the mode of tension, are deployed at several crucial levels of Weber’s oeuvre. By giving subjectivation its due both structurally and historically vis-à-vis rationalization, the article makes clear that Weber’s social and cultural science is not just a science ‘of Man’, i.e. a humanist science, still less a posthumanist science of human and nonhuman entities in a flattened world, but a science of ‘daemonized’ humans and rationalized daemons. Is not that social and cultural science, or a variant thereof, what we necessitate today?

Author Biography

Carlos Frade, University of Salford-Manchester


Senior Lecturer in Sociology


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How to Cite

Frade, C. (2023). The Subversive Weber: Subjectivation and World-Confrontation in Max Weber’s Teaching. Cosmos and History: The Journal of Natural and Social Philosophy, 19(2), 73–102. Retrieved from