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TU Berlin

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Jan Kemper

Center for Metropolitan Studies (CMS)
TU Berlin
Ernst-Reuter-Platz 7, TEL 3-0
10587 Berlin


In recent years, Max Weber has become increasingly popular in German urban studies. In conjunction with the articulation of the ‘European City’ as an overall concept of urban development and in order to highlight ways and means to social chohesion in contemporary capitalism, Weber’s essay “The City” (1921) was (re-) discovered as a seminal study for urban research and as a result, Weber was (re-) established as one of the founding fathers of the intellectual field of urban studies.

The growing interest of German urban researchers in Weber’s work and its supposed contribution to urban studies presents a contrast to (1) the sceptical view of Weber’s legacy that was developed in previous decades of urban research in (West-)Germany, (2) the absence of Weber’s thinking in American contemporary sociological debates about urban theory and urban development, and (3) Weber’s own analytical silence regarding the metropolis emerging from the arrival of the industrial society.

This study takes different assumptions on Weber’s relevance to urban studies as venturing point for the analysis of the discipline’s intellectual history. In a broader sense, the research project investigates the production of scientific knowledge about the city and the urban condition in the field of urban studies. More particularly, the study aims (1) to understand how Weber produced his own knowledge of the city, especially with regard to his American journey and his general sociology, (2) to describe the modalities of integration and interpretation of Weber’s work in urban studies in the American and European context, and (3) to shed some light on the relationship between urban development, society and sociological modes of theorizing the city.

Curriculum Vitae

Diploma in Social Sciences, Dept of Social Sciences, Humboldt-University Berlin


Review: "Susan S. Fainstein, The Just City." Raumforschung und Raumordnung, Vol. 69, No. 2 (2011), 133-134.

Review: "Alice Sparberg Alexiou, Jane Jacobs - Urban Visionary." Das Argument, Vol. 49, No. 2 (2007), 304-305.

"Die soziologische Theoretisierung der Stadt und die ›New Urban Sociology‹." In collaboration with Hartmut Häußermann. Die Wirklichkeit der Städte, ed. by H. Berking and M. Löw, Baden-Baden: Nomos 2005, 25-53.

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