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Flashcards in Action Theories Deck (41)
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Who saw structural and action approaches as necessary to describe social behaviour?

Max Weber


According to Max Weber, an explanation must have two things. What are they?

Level of cause (objective structural factors) and a level of meaning (the subjective meanings that individuals attach to their actions)


Weber classifies actions into 4 types. What are they?

Instrumentally rational action, value-rational action, traditional action and affectual action


Give two criticisms of Max Weber

Alfred Schutz argued that it is too individualistic and cannot explain the shared nature of meaning. Weber advocated the use of verstehen but we cannot always put ourselves in another persons shoes


Who was a famous symbolic interactionist that believed in the idea of symbols versus instincts and taking the role of the other?

G.H Mead


Mead drew a comparison between humans and animals. What did he say?

Unlike animals, our behaviour is not fixed


According to Mead, how do we respond to a stimulus?

By giving meanings to the things that have meaning to us


According to Mead, how do we interpret other people's meanings?

Taking the role of the other


Herbert Blumer identified 3 key principles. What are they?

Our actions are based on meanings, These arise from interaction, The meanings we give to situations are the result of our interpretive procedures


Why does Blumer argue that our behaviour is partly predictable?

Because we internalise the expectations of others


In labelling theory, what did W.I Thomas believe about the definition of the situation?

He argued that if people define a situational real, then it will have real consequences and if we believe something to be true then it will affect how we act


Who came up with the concept of the looking glass self?

Charles Cooley


What can we develop from the looking glass self?

Our self concept


In interactions, what occurs as we are defined by others?

A self-fulfilling prophecy


What are labelling theories views on careers?

Labelling theorists believe that we can move through stages through different labels given to us


What theorist is associated with the dramaturgical model?



According to Goffman, how do we construct ourselves?

By manipulating other people's impressions of us


What does the dramaturgical model assume?

We are all actors, acting out scripts, using props and resting backstage


What does Goffman believe that there is a role distance between?

Our real self and our roles


What is involved in impression management?

We seek to present a particular image of ourselves to our audiences


What is a strength of symbolic interactionism?

It avoids the determinism of structural theories as people can create society through their own choices and meanings


What are some of the limitations of symbolic interactionism?

It ignores wider social structures to explain labels, It cannot explain consistent patterns in behaviour and Weber showed that not all action can be meaningful


What is phenomonology?

The study of subjective experience


What do phenomonologists argue?

As a human being, our only reality consists of meanings


What is Husserl's philosophy regarding phenomonology?

The world can only make sense because we impose meanings and order on it by constructing mental categories


According to Husserl, where can we only obtain knowledge from?

Through our mental acts of categorising and giving meaning to our experiences


What are the 2 terms coined by Schutz?

Typifications and the natural attitude


What are typifications?

Shared categories that enable us to organise experiences which creates shared assumptions about the way things are


Without shared typifications, what would be made impossible?

Social order


What is the natural attitude?

Society appears to us as a real thing