Keywords: Max Weber; Hans Blumenberg; subrogation; secularization; consumption.
The article takes issue with traditional understandings of Max Weber's reflection on
modernity by shedding light on a neglected category of his thought: subrogation. The
meaning of subrogation is first outlined through a comparison with secularization and
Blumenberg's concept of Umbesetzung. The conceptual status of subrogation is then
further clarified by reviewing its presence (or its absence) in the Weberian diagnosis
of modernity, and by distinguishing between two different typologies of subrogation.
I will finally focus on the anthropological implications of the idea of subrogation, displaying
its explanatory power in the analysis of contemporary societies. In particular,
I intend to employ subrogation as the cornerstone of a more finely shaded - neither
apocalyptic, nor apologetic - interpretation of consumption.