"Law as Culture. Max Weber's comparative cultural sociology of law."

The Käte Hamburger Center for Advanced Study in the Humanities “Law as Culture” will hold an international conference from October 25 to 27, 2012, on the topic “Law as Culture. Max Weber's comparative cultural sociology of law.”

The conference is dedicated to one of those theorists – Max Weber – whose work, along with Durkheim, has been central to our Institute from the outset with a view to critical continuation. Trained as a jurist, Weber’s way of thinking and researching is shaped by his juridical socialization in a characteristic way. This even finds expression in his strategies of conceptualization that have made him famous and notorious. However, his writings on law – in particular his Sociology of Law – have remained underappreciated.

The editors of the volume “Recht” (MWG I/22-3) deem to have found explanations for this. Within the volume an “Éloge de la variante” is cultivated, intended to make comprehensible to the reader the difficult process of the generation of thought in the course of writing. Thus far, philology claims to serve better understanding. However, the aspiration of this conference goes further: How do we have to understand the role of law within the process of occidental rationalization? Isn’t it religion that has to be regarded as the decisive pointsman in the light of Weber?

If however, law played a decisive role in this, how does Weber deal with contemporary knowledge about the diversity of legal cultures – or do we sink, with him, into the sea of legal histories? How is the ideal extraction of laws influenced by Islam, Judaism and Christianity related to the experiences of interference, hybridization and pluralization that define our agenda in the “global age”?

We proceed on the repeatedly confirmed suspicion that the examination of Weber’s interpretations is conducive to technical analysis, in particular to a “legal analysis as cultural research” (“Rechtsanalyse als Kulturforschung”).

For this purpose, experts and critics of the Weberian writings on law from all over the world – from Minneapolis to Cairo, from Paris to Madrid and from Warsaw to London and Delhi – have come together to venture a new glimpse on Weber’s writings on law and to profit from it for the urgent questions of our time in which not only the formal qualities of the law are of interest, but its cultural fundaments of validity gain importance.

You can find more information on the conference program.