Introducing Western Sociologists

Introducing Western Sociologists


What is meant by ‘ideal types’ ?

Meaning of Ideal Types :

1. Max Weber observed society as a complex and ever shifting play of forces. He developed his notion of ideal type for making scientific generalizations out of our understanding of this infinitely complex and shifting world.

2. It is a collection of features of an entity that are : (a) logically consistent and (b) which render its existence possible.

3. An ideal type is a selection of certain elements, certain traits or characteristics which are distinctive and relvant to the phenomenon on under study.

4. In a way it is an exaggerated picture of a particular reality. Though ideal types are constructed from facts existing in reality, they do not represent or describe the toted reality. Ideal type is a mental construct.

5. Max Weber constructed the ideal types of domination : Rational (justified by the caste, custom, etc) and Charismatic (justified by the exceptional virtue of the leader). They may be used to reconstruct and understand actual political regimes. Most of the actual political regimes, however, contain elements of each of the three types of domination.

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