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Typology of Social Actions

1. Goal Oriented Action: 

  • It is the social action, which is based on rationality.
  • It refers to a kind of action, which is taken up after the calculation of means and ends.
  • In this kind of actions, the goal is important. Therefore, people are engaged in such actions to achieve the goal.
  • In modern times people are engaged mostly in goal oriented actions. 
  • For E.g: A soldier who wants to win a war, the college students attending class, etc. 

2. Value Oriented Action:

  • The action in this type is governed by values. People act in order to achieve a specific end, which is socially valuable or try to fulfill their goals through acceptable values. Such as customs, believes etc.
  • Values differ from individuals to individuals.
  • According to Weber, when individuals are value rational, they make commitments to certain subjective goals and adopt means that are effective in attaining these ends. Here means are chosen for their efficiency but the ends are determined by value.
  • For E.g: A soldier laying down his life for the country. His action is not directed towards attaining material goal like wealth, but it is for the sake of certain value like honor and patriotism. 
  • Similarly, a captain sinking along with the ship is an action to up hold the value of courage. 
  • The actions of those who engaged in freedom struggle can also be considered as a value oriented rational action. 
  • The actor in such actions is acting rationally by accepting all risk, yet remains faithful to his values.

    3. Emotional or Affective Action:

    • In this type of action, an individual is engaged in an emotional reaction to the action of others. 
    • For instance, reaction of love, hatred, sympathy, compassion or pity in response to the behavior of the other individuals are affective actions. 
    • In the affective actions, sentiments, emotions and certain other states of mind play an important role.
    • For E.g: emotional responses is formed among the members of the family or the mother and child relationship. If someone is teasing her daughter in a bus, she may get irritated that she may slap the offending person. She has reacted violently ,this is because the emotional reaction of an actor placed in a given circumstances.

    4. Traditional Action: 

    • Traditional action occurs when the ends and means of action are fixed by customs and traditions.
    • Actions which are influenced, guided or determined by the customs and traditions are known as traditional actions. 
    • When an individual engaged in traditional action he does not assess the validity of the action. He does not think whether it is right or wrong, useful or wasteful and even whether a purpose is served by it or not.
    • Original thinking or rationality has no place in traditional action. It is performed simply because our elders were performing . The customs, folkways, mores etc, belong to this category. For E.g: a particular way of dressing is followed, because that is what people are accustomed to. 
    • The traditional action is the copying of the action of the prevalent in the past. 
    • In earlier days, people were mostly engaged in traditional action.

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