Handlarze i bohaterowie: Werner Sombart o kulturze, wojnie i kapitalizmie

Marta Bucholc


The article presents the main themes of a little-known work by Werner Sombart entitled Händler und Helden from 2015. The main topic is the relationship between the development of social consciousness and the war, which Sombart analyzes, juxtaposing the British merchant mentality and the heroic German mentality. The article presents the biographical and historical background of the Händler und Helden and deconstructs the vision of war as the founding act of faith of the national culture. According to Sombart, the Great War was a remedy for the contradiction between the culture produced by capitalism and the national culture — it is an act of emancipation of the authentic national identity. The article places this idea of Sombart in the broader context of the theory of social consciousness, demonstrating the homology of Sombart’s thought and Norbert Elias’s concept of civilization in a detailed analysis of the significance of war and capitalism postulated by Sombart for the development and duration of German collective consciousness.

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