Weber and the European City in the 21st century
Still reality or just a concept?
Keywords:Max Weber, city, urban sociology, post-Fordism, conflic, European city
Max Weber has left a 100-page long text that played a main role in his argumentation on the particular development of Europe in contrast to especially Asia. Main difference, according to Weber, is the development of a ‘local society’ where freedom and the association of free citizens laid the ground for a democratic society. In the reception of this text, a critical view on main assumptions on the ‘European city’ has been dominant. In particular, the notions of conflict and inequality have not been integrated into his argumentation. Nevertheless, some sociologists even today, see Weber and his text as a kind of starting point to understand the social and political construction of urban societies in Europe. Firstly, a critical introduction into the core ideas of Weber on the city will be presented. Subsequently, the article discusses whether the ‘European city’ can still be regarded as a meaningful term to explain the process of urban restructuring taking place today. Although not rejecting the Weberian notion of the city, it will be highlighted that his understanding of ‘urban society’ leaves out recent processes of the post-Fordist restructuring of space.
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