Theory, History and Self-Characterization of Social Margins in Public Writings
8. Public Writings of Local Intellectuals – TheNarrative Completion 153
153 CHAPTER 8 Public Writings of Local Intellectuals – The Narrative Completion Needless to say, the essayist is not a whit less than a professional, systematic scholar – perhaps, just the opposite! But he has no place at a university and would not do much good for the institution nor, what is more important, for himself. Max Weber, Letter to Georg Lukács, 14 August 19161 Public Writing as the Completion of Praxis – Narrating Historical Other(s) The above epigraph relates to Max Weber’s advice to his younger friend Georg Lukács. Lukács was at a crossroads of having to choose between an academic career or becoming a freelance essayist; the latter choice was not favoured by the tenured professors in Heidelberg. Weber implic- itly discouraged Lukács from applying for a Habilitation, not because Lukács did not ‘deserve’ it, but because of the implicit disadvantage in making such a choice for an ‘unsystematic’ essayist that might ruin his future career in formal academia, which prefers academic professionalism rather than partisan essayists.2 Lukács’ Habilitation application was later rejected by the old professors in Heidelberg. Max Weber’s position in giving this advice was seemingly ambivalent – he was a benefi ciary of the old and rigid Habilitation system in Prussian Germany, but he owed his insight to what he called intellectual creativity, and he was right: Georg Lukács published Geschichte und Klassebewüssen, the popular reception of which in twentieth-century sociological literature was no less than that given to Wirkschaft...
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