What Is Social Action

Table of contents:

What Is Social Action
What Is Social Action

Video: What Is Social Action

Video: Lesson 4 What is social action 2022, December

Social action as a social phenomenon was first described at the beginning of the 20th century by the German sociologist Max Weber. Creating his own theory of "understanding sociology", the scientist put the interaction of individuals at the center of the life of society. Any action (act, statement, non-interference, etc.) becomes social if, while performing it, the individual was guided by the actions of other people.

What is social action
What is social action


Step 1

Social action has two important characteristics: focus on other members of society and rationality (awareness). An act of a person that does not affect the behavior of his relatives, acquaintances, colleagues or casual participants in a situation cannot be considered a social act. Even suicide will not be a social action if the lives of the relatives of the deceased remain unchanged.

Step 2

In order to explain the difference between natural (natural) and public (social) actions, Weber gave an illustrative example. Cyclists collided on a narrow road. This fact itself remains within the framework of a natural phenomenon. However, it is followed by the social actions of the participants in the incident: a quarrel, mutual accusations, or, conversely, a constructive dialogue and a peaceful solution to the conflict.

Step 3

Another characteristic of social action - rationality - is even more difficult to define. Rationality presupposes that a person has certain goals and objectives, by realizing which he changes the behavior of others. However, fully conscious and appropriate action is considered ideal. In reality, a person can commit acts aimed at other people in a state of passion. When experiencing intense fear or anger, not everyone can control their own statements and reactions.

Step 4

Social action begins with the emergence of a person's need. Then the individual realizes the desires and impulses that have appeared, correlates them with social reality, sets goals, plans his own actions and outlines options for the development of the situation. Depending on personal interest and the environment, a person can act quickly, or spend a long time at one or another stage of the process.

Step 5

Depending on the degree of human comprehension of his social behavior, Weber identified 4 types of social action:

1. Goal-rational. The individual is very well aware of his needs, clearly formulates the goal and finds the best option for solving the assigned tasks. An example of a goal-oriented rational action can serve as the professional activity of an architect or a military man, and the behavior of an egoist.

2. Value-rational. Such social actions are performed when a certain behavior is especially significant for a person, regardless of the final result. For example, for the captain of a ship, an important value is his duty to passengers and crew. Remaining on a sinking ship, he does not achieve any set goal, but remains true to his own values.

3. Traditional. A person acts according to the learned stereotypes of his social group, out of habit. At the same time, he does not set significant goals for himself, does not feel anxiety about upcoming events, does not go beyond the usual way of life.

4. Affective. Such social behavior of a person is mainly determined by his momentary emotions, state of mind, mood. For example, a loving mother in anger may yell at a disobedient child. Her act will be determined not by any specific goal or value, but by an individual emotional reaction.

Step 6

Weber considered the last two types of behavior to be borderline, since in them there is no absolute awareness and rationality of actions.He also acknowledged that in reality, mixed behaviors are more common. In different life situations, the same person can demonstrate any of the four types of social action. Nevertheless, the classification proposed by Weber accurately describes behavioral reactions and is often used in sociological research.

Step 7

Thus, social action can be characterized as a way of human behavior, in which his actions correlate with the actions of other people and are guided by them.

Popular by topic