On Monday 28 January, the University of Cambridge Bennett Institute for Public Policy co-hosted a conference with the Institute for Policy Research (IPR). The conference, ‘Max Weber’s Politics as a Vocation’, was organised to celebrate the centenary of Weber’s seminal lecture, and discuss it in today’s context.
Convened by Professor David Runciman from the University of Cambridge, the conference began with a panel on ‘Parties, Professionalization, and Populism’, featuring; Director of the IPR, Professor Nick Pearce; former Max Weber Fellow at the European University Institute, Dr Line Rennwald; and Dr Chris Bickerton from the University of Cambridge; chaired by Director of the Bennett Institute for Public Policy, Professor Michael Kenny.
A second panel on ‘Violence, Power, and Responsibility’ followed, featuring; Professor of History of Political Thought, Richard Bourke, and Leverhulme Early Career Fellow Dr Banu Turnaoglu, from the University of Cambridge; and Professor of Political Science and Global Governance at the University of Hamburg, Antje Wiener. The panel was chaired by Reader in Political Sociology at the University of Cambridge, Dr Hazem Kandil.
Finishing the conference, approximately 100 attendees were treated to a live recording of Talking Politics, featuring; Professor David Runciman, Professor of Political Economy at the University of Cambridge, Helen Thompson, and former Downing Street Chief of Staff, Jonathan Powell. Referencing Weber, the ethical paradoxes of politics dominated their discussion.
Through much debate over Brexit, Trump’s America, and it’s wider social implications, the conference concluded with a very clear sentiment – 100 years on, Weber’s ‘Politics as a Vocation’ remains seminal in examining the journey of both British and international politics, to where it is today.