Dirk Kaesler

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Dirk Kaesler in August 2018

Dirk Kaesler (born October 19, 1944 in Wiesbaden as Dirk Käsler , Kaesler since 1996 ) is a German sociologist .


Dirk Kaesler grew up in Munich . After graduating from secondary school in Munich-Pasing (since 1965 Max-Planck-Gymnasium ) he studied sociology and political science ( political science ) at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich and the London School of Economics . His Munich teachers include in particular Karl Martin Bolte , Karl Bosl , Walter L. Bühl , Hans Maier , Theo Stammen , Eric Voegelin and Johannes F. Winckelmann , in London he studied primarily with Michael Oakeshottand Karl Popper . In 1976 he received his PhD in Sociology in Munich. rer. pole. doctorate, and he completed his habilitation there in 1983 in sociology as Dr. rer. pole. habil. From 1967 to 1972 he was a scholarship holder of the German National Academic Foundation . From 1973 to 1978 he trained as a reserve officer with the 28th Panzer Brigade of the German Armed Forces, and in 1980 he was promoted to first lieutenant in the reserve. From 1972 to 1974 he was a member of the municipal council (free electorate) of the municipality of Kottgeisering , Fürstenfeldbruck district, Upper Bavaria administrative district . Dirk Kaesler headed the Political Club of the Evangelical Academy Tutzing from 1975 to 1977.

After a time as a visiting researcher at the University of Chicago in the fall of 1981, he taught and researched from 1984 to 1995 as Professor of General Sociology at the University of Hamburg , and from March 1992 to March 1994 he was Dean of the Department of Philosophy and Social Sciences at the University of Hamburg. From 1995 until his retirement in 2009 he held the chair for general sociology and from 2006 to 2008 dean of the social sciences and philosophy department at the Philipps University of Marburg . At the beginning of the 2010/11 winter semester, Markus Schroer became his successor at the Marburg chair.

Kaesler has held longer visiting professorships at the University of Cologne , the University of South Florida in St. Petersburg , the Indiana University in Bloomington , the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales in Paris, the Humboldt University in Berlin , the Ludwig-Maximilians- University of Munich, the Hamburg Institute for Social Research , the University of California, Berkeley , the University of Graz and the University of Cambridge . Between April 2003 and April 2005 he was Writer in Residence at Monacensia , the Literature Archive and the Library of the City of Munich. For the years 1999 to 2003 the German Society for Sociology elected him to its council, from 2002 to 2005 he was a member of the board of the DGS, for the period 2007 to 2015 he was re-elected to its council.

As part of the DGS, Kaesler took the initiative to prepare and adopt an ethical code for German sociology. Entrusted with this task by the then chairman Wolfgang Zapf , Kaesler headed a commission from 1989–1992 to which the sociologists Christel Hopf , Siegfried Lamnek , Hansgünter Meyer and Bernhard Schäfers belonged. A joint ethics code of the DGS and the professional association of German sociologists has been in force since November 1992 .

Kaesler's particularly well-known research areas are the history of German and international sociology, the examination of its classics and major works, and the scientific research into the life, work and impact of the German sociologist Max Weber .

Kaesler sees himself as the defender of the academically proven and professional qualifying degree course in Sociology , which should be abolished in Germany in favor of Bachelor and Master courses as part of the Bologna Process . In spring 2007, on behalf of the faculty council, Kaesler sued the Hessian administrative courts against the discontinuation of the degree course in Sociology at Marburg University. Both the Administrative Court of Giessen and the Hessian Administrative Court rejected the lawsuit and affirmed the right of the Marburg university management to discontinue the diploma courses - even against the declared will of the specialist representatives. Since the 2006/07 winter semester, the University of Marburg has no longer offered an undergraduate degree in sociology as a major, but courses with the degrees of “Bachelor of Arts” in social sciences and “Master of Arts” in sociology. This is one of the reasons why Kaesler applied for his early release from his position as a university professor.

Of his numerous students in sociology so far, Petra Ahrweiler , Rainer Kattel, Matthias Koenig , Andreas Reckwitz and Thomas Spiegler should be mentioned in particular .


In his work, Dirk Kaesler deals primarily with the history of sociology , theories of sociology, political sociology (revolutions, political scandals), sociology of science (the emergence of academic sociology), ethics of the social sciences, sociology of religion and Max Weber research .

Kaesler has been publishing regularly in journalistic terms from his scientific research since 1979 (in particular Süddeutsche Zeitung , Der Spiegel , Die Welt , Der Stern , tageszeitung , Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung , Die Zeit , Die Woche , Frankfurter Rundschau ); He published regular monthly columns for Max (1994/1995), Oberhessische Presse (1997–2009) and since July 2009 for the online magazine literaturkritik.de .


  • 2014: 1st place in the non-fiction books of May 2014 for the book "Max Weber. Preuße, Denker, Muttersohn. Munich: CHBeck 2014." (Jury Norddeutscher Rundfunk, Süddeutsche Zeitung, Buchjournal, Börsenblatt)
  • 2018: Life Membership , Clare Hall, Cambridge, UK.

Fonts (selection)


  • Max Weber: Prussian, thinker, mother's son. A biography . Beck, Munich 2014. ISBN 978-3-406-66075-7 .
  • Max Weber. An introduction to life, work and impact . 4th updated edition, Campus-Verlag, New York / Frankfurt am Main 2014, ISBN 978-3-593-50114-7 (First edition 1995, French transl. 1996; Chinese transl. 2000; Italian transl. 2004; Polish transl . 2010).
  • Max Weber . Beck, Munich 2011. ISBN 978-3-406-62249-6 .
  • Sociology as a calling. Building blocks of a self-confident sociology . Westdeutscher Verlag, Opladen 1997, ISBN 978-3-531-13070-5 .
  • The political scandal. On the symbolic and dramaturgical quality of politics. Together with Hans Peter Albers, Leonarda Castello, Carsten Germis, Peter-Jakob Kelting, Matthias Klupp, Sabine Redlin, Jochen Rimek, Franz-Josef Schmidt, Frank Smeddinck and Thomas Steiner, Westdeutscher Verlag, Opladen 1991, ISBN 3-531-12286- X .
  • Sociological Adventure. Earle Edward Eubank visits European sociologists in the summer of 1934 . Westdeutscher Verlag, Opladen 1985. (Italian transl. 1992) ISBN 978-3-531-11781-2 .
    • Sociological Adventures. Earle Edward Eubank's Visits with European Sociologists . Transaction Publ., New Brunswick / London 1991, ISBN 0-88738-368-8 .
  • The early German sociology 1909 to 1934 and its origins. A sociological study. West German publishing house. Opladen 1984, ISBN 978-3-531-11709-6 (also habilitation thesis, University of Munich 1983).
  • Introduction to Max Weber's studies . Beck, Munich 1979, ISBN 3-406-04863-3 (Japan. Transl. 1981; Engl. Transl. 1988).
  • Revolution and everyday occurrence. A theory of post-revolutionary processes . Nymphenburger Verlagshandlung, Munich 1977, ISBN 978-3-485-01844-9 (also dissertation, University of Munich 1976).
  • Paths to Sociological Theory . Nymphenburger Verlagshandlung, Munich 1974, ISBN 978-3-485-03069-4 .



  • Andreas Platthaus : The right legacy. For the sixtieth birthday of the sociologist Dirk Kaesler . - In: Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung , October 19, 2004.
  • Eva Barlösius : "Classic in a gold frame". A contribution to the sociology of the classics . - In: Leviathan , 2004, No. 4, pp. 514-542.
  • Stephan Moebius : Practice of the history of sociology. Methodologies, conceptualization and examples of research in the history of sociology . Kovac, Hamburg 2004, ISBN 3-8300-1323-X .
  • Max Weber: la disputada herencia de un clásico de la sociologia. Entrevistas a Wolfgang Schluchter y Dirk Käsler . - In: Revista Espanola de Investigaciones Sociologicas (rice), No. 121, 2008, pp. 169-204.
  • Matthias Koenig : sociologist by calling. To the sociologist Dirk Kaesler on his 70th birthday. - In: Marburger UniJournal, Winter 2014/2015, p. 52.

Web links

Commons : Dirk Kaesler  - Collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Code of Ethics of the German Society for Sociology (DGS) and the Professional Association of German Sociologists (BDS) , current version of June 10, 2017 (PDF).
  2. Students behave like schoolchildren. ( Memento from December 15, 2010 in the Internet Archive )
  3. Our Life Members , Clare Hall Cambridge