Social Action Theories Essay

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Social Action Theories Micro Theories Anti-positivist This approach rejects the idea that social behaviour is constrained or a product of external forces over which they have no control. People are not puppets of society. Social action theorists argue that the attitudes and actions of others influence the way people think and behave. Society is a product of people interacting in social groups and making sense of their behaviour. They suggest norms and values are flexible guidelines. We apply meanings to social behaviour and are aware of how others see that behaviour and how we should act in a given situation. ----------------------- Social action theory Phenomenology Symbolic interactionism Ethnomethodology Structuration theory Weber Blumer Meaning Goffman Cooley Mead Schutz Garfinkel Giddens Structural and action approaches are both important to fully understand human behaviour. To get a full sociological explanation involves two levels: The level of cause and the level of meaning. (E.g. The introduction of Calvinism promoted to a strong work ethic which led to the rise in capitalism). He identified four types of action: Instrumentally rational action – where the actor calculates the most efficient means of achieving a given goal. Value rational action – action towards a goal which is desirable for its own sake (ie Believing in God to get to heaven) Traditional action – customs, habitual actions, which are often automatic Affectual action – action which expresses emotion. (Weber) We create our world through actions and interactions, which are based on the meanings we give to situations. Our behaviour is not fixed / instinctive. We give meanings to the things which are important to us. We do this by attaching symbols
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