Weber: Social Action Theory

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  • Created by: Megan
  • Created on: 12-05-15 14:08
What is an action theory ?
'micro' approaches that focus on the actions of individuals. They see individuals as having free will and choice, thus our actions are not determined by society
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What two things did Weber argue an adequate sociological explanation involved?
1) The level of cause 2) The level of meaning
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What is mean't by the level of cause? Give an example (Calvinism)
explaining the objective structural factors that shape peoples behavior e.g. new belief system is introduced
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What is mean't by level of meaning? Give an example (Calvinism)
understanding the subjective meanings individuals attach to their actions e.g. work developed a religious meaning for calvinists. So individuals were motivated to work to glorify God's name
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What are the four types of actions that Weber classifies ?
1)Instrumentally rational action 2)Value rational action 3)Traditional action 4)Affectual action
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What is 'Instrumentally Rational action'?
Where the actor calculates the best way of achieving a given goal. It isnt about whether the way is desirable, as long as you achieve it
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What is 'Value-rational action'?
Working towards a goal that the actor regards as desirable e.g. believer worshipping God to get to heaven
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What is 'Traditional action'?
customary routine or habitual actions. This type of action is not rational because no conscious thought has gone into it
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What is 'Affectual action'?
Expresses an emotion e.g. weeping out of grief. This is particularly important in political and religious movements
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What is Vershtehn?
Want to understand why
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Give a criticism of Webers theory
He advocated the use of vershtehn of the actors subjective meaning. However we cannot actually be that other person, so we can never be sure that we have truly understood their motives
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Card 2

Front

What two things did Weber argue an adequate sociological explanation involved?

Back

1) The level of cause 2) The level of meaning

Card 3

Front

What is mean't by the level of cause? Give an example (Calvinism)

Back

Preview of the front of card 3

Card 4

Front

What is mean't by level of meaning? Give an example (Calvinism)

Back

Preview of the front of card 4

Card 5

Front

What are the four types of actions that Weber classifies ?

Back

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