Weber's Social Action Theory

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Types of action

There are infinite nummbers of subjective meanings that actors may give to their actions. Weber attempts to classify actions into four types, based on their meaning for the actor:

- Instrumentally rational action: where the actor caluculates the most efficient means of achieving a given goal. E.G. a capitalist may calculate the most efficient way of maximisinf profit is to pay low wages.

- Value-rational action: involves action towards a goal that the actor regards as desirable for its own sake  E.G. a believer worshipping their God in order to get to heaven. Unlike instrumental rationalist, there is no way of calculating whether the means of achieving the goal are effective.

- Traditional action: involves customary, routine or habitual actions. Weber


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