‘Assess The Usefulness Of Social Action Theory To

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‘Assess the usefulness of Social Action Theory to our understanding of Society’ (33 marks) Social action theories are radical opposites of structural theories. Structural theories commonly view people as ‘puppet’s’ of the social system, passively and unthinkingly playing out their lives as determined by pre-existing social laws. The main disagreements between this social structure is that Functionalists emphasise the benefits for the entire society, whilst others believe that it is only beneficial to one type of group, via means of production; these are Marxists or Feminists. Social action theories have an issue with determinism, they alternatively believe that people within society are social actors and have free will, consciousness, meanings and motives. Social action theorists believe that illusion of a stable and constant society is slightly more than hundreds of individual interactions each carried out by choice and interpretation. Max Weber a famous social action theorist put forward his view that humans are fundamentally different from the subject of matter of the natural sciences, due to the fact that they have free-will; in that they make decisions, attach meanings, hold intents and harbour motives. Therefore, the ultimate aim of sociology should be inevitably to individual decision and thoughts, rather than social structure. Weber takes on a completely different viewpoint from Durkheim, who put forward his theory that individual behaviour is constrained by determined by natural laws. Nevertheless, one major criticism of these structuralist approaches, i.e. Marxism and Feminism, is that they are grounded theories; these would infer that the theories may be thought of first and then evidence would be selected to back them up. Thus, two famous sociologists Barney Glaser and Anselm Strauss argued that this is the wrong order to approach research, as
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