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Flashcards in Social Action Theory Deck (14):

what do social action theorists believe?

the best approach to an understanding of society is through studying small groups.


what does Weber argue?

we should avoid generalising theories because peoples behaviour is not determined by general laws.


Structural theories emphasise what?

how people are influenced by major structural forces like social class, economy, law.


Who is the structural approaches adapted by?

feminists, Marxists, functionalists


What do those who adapt the social structures believe?

that studying major groups or strata in society can explain experiences of individuals.


what did webers approach lead to?

A view called methodological individualism

focuses on how people actively engage in social interaction. structures do not determine our behaviour.


What is Weber critical of?

Marx and believes that it is individuals that shape the development of society, not the opposite,


Weber argued that social interaction works on two levels. What are they?

1. level of cause - objective structural factors
2. level of meaning- subjective structural factors


Actions can be categorised on levels. name them.

traditional action
rational goal orientated action
affective/affectual action
rational value orientated action


explanation for traditional action

action carried out by custom or habit


explanation for rational value orientated action

action led by overriding ideal or action. commited to religious belief.


explanation for rational goal orientated

calculate likely results of behaviour in relation to a goal.


explanation of affectual/affective action

action influenced by an emotional state


name 3 criticisms of Webers theory

too individualistic and cannot explain the shared nature of meaning

can never truly understand an individuals actions so webers ideas of verstehen cannot be applied

weber ignores structures of society