Introducing Western Sociologists

Introducing Western Sociologists


Explain the four types of social action.

Four types of Social Action : Max Weber has mentioned four types of social action :

(i) Goal-Rational Action : In goal oriented rational action, an individual is able to rationally select his own behavioural goals and the means for their attaintment. Both goal and means are rationally chosen. These acting are performed after very careful consideration. The action of an engineer who builds a bridge by the most efficient technique of relating means to ends is an example of this type.

(ii) Valve-Rational Action : This type of action is rational on the same that it is determined by the agent’s ethical or religious belief that a form of action has an absolute valve independent of the result. These actions are performed under the influence of ethical values.

(iii) Emotional Action : Action is affective or emotional, when the means and ends of action are selected on the basis of emotional criteria. Since these actions are performed under certain emotions these may or may not be rational.

(iv) Traditional Action : Action is traditional when custom prescribes the selection of ends and means. Traditional action is guided by customary habits of thought.

Conclusion : (a) In Max Weber’s view, meaning of social action was closely related to rationality.

(b) Meaningful actions are linked to golal -rationality and value rationality. Affective and traditional actions are border - line cases. As an understanding sociology Max Weber’s project is based on the notion of rational action.

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