German Cosmopolitan Social Thought and the Idea of the West
19 May 2016
There has been considerable interest in recent years in German social thinkers of the Weimar era. Generally, this has focused on reactionary and nationalist figures such as Schmitt and Heidegger. In this book, Austin Harrington offers a broader account of the German intellectual legacy of the period. He explores the ideas of a circle of left-liberal cosmopolitan thinkers (Troeltsch, Scheler, Tönnies, Max Weber, Alfred Weber, Mannheim, Jaspers, Curtius, and Simmel) who responded to Germany's crisis by rejecting the popular appeal of nationalism. Instead, they promoted pan-European reconciliation based on notions of a shared European heritage between East and West. Harrington examines their concepts of nationhood, religion, and 'civilization' in the context of their time and in their bearing on subsequent debates about European identity and the place of the modern West in global social change. The result is a groundbreaking contribution to current questions in social, cultural and historical theory.