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Social Action

Max Weber (1864 - 1920)

He was born on April 21, 1864, in West Germany. He entered the field of sociology through law and maintained as great sociologist in 21st century. He was a protestant. His father was a biurocrtaic, who had a very high political position. His mother was a religious lady. At the age of 18 he started studying law. He served in military. He did P.H.D in History of Commercial society on middle ages. He also worked as a teacher in Free Berg University. He died on June 14,1920. 

Some of the Major Contributions of Weber: 

  • General economic History - 1827
  • The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of capitalism - 1830
  • Economy and society - 1968
  • The methodology of social science - 1949

Social Action 

He believes sociology as a comprehensive science of social action. According to Weber” social action is that action as an individual which is some how influenced by the action and behavior of other person by which it is modified or its dimension determined”. 

Meaning of social action 

Social action is the action of individual towards the other. How and why individual act and behave, because it is influenced by others. Social actions may be from individuals to individuals or from group to individuals or from group to group. Actions differ from situation to situation. Action also differ from age, environment etc. For example when a person sitting in cinema is different from a person sitting in a temple. 

Characteristic of social action 

  1. Social actions may be influenced by the action of past present or future. 
  2. Presuppose the existence of other individuals and some actions by him.
  3. Necessary of subjective meaning.

1. Social actions influenced by the action of past present or future: 

  • Social action occurs as a behavioral reaction to the past action or to the present condition or to the anticipated future situation. 
  • In other words every individual acts intentionally having specific meaning to the actions of others. 
  • Such meanings developed out of past experience makes a person to arrive at certain judgment in relation to the others. 
  • A social action is a response to the present condition , which means physical situation.
  • Further social action is also related to the future because we are capable of making certain anticipations.
  • So our behavior is modified in such a way that future consequences can be determined by the present situation.

2. Presuppose the existence of other individual and some actions by him: 

  • There can be no social actions in isolation. 
  • Social action presupposes the existence of other individual and some actions by him. 
  • The action of an individual can be only physical if it occurs among many persons. 
  • For E.g: Two persons collide in motor cycle,  this is only a physical action. It become social only if some one gets injured and applies for compensation. 
  • Social action is possible only if there is another human being whose action or behavior is provocating the individual to act in a particular manner.

3. Necessary of subjective meaning: 

  • Action might take place sometimes subjectively. 
  • Those actions occur without knowing. Eg; accident. 
  • These actions are not planned.

Typology of Social Actions 

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