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Weber is among the popular sociologists who researched a lot the nature of society. The scholar is known for his theory about social action. In his approach, he argues that social actions are ones that take into account the reactions as well as the actions of individuals in the society. Moreover, Weber describes a social action as a process that considers the behavior of other people in the society. His main focus was to study how the behaviors of human beings relate to the cause and effect in the social realm. This paper will concentrate on what Weber meant when he argued that society consists of social actions.
At first, Weber describes sociology as the study that deals with society and behaviors of individuals. The definition itself reveals that there are interactions between these two aspects (Bryant, 2014). Weber argues that society is shaped by human interactions because the basis of any society is formed by the behaviors and actions that are acceptable in a particular social environment. Individuals have a role in shaping and defining actions that are favorable or desirable. Weber makes a strong assumption that human actions vary in relation to the social context and how their deeds will impact other people. In cases when the action or the impact from it is not desirable, the action is modified to suit the social context (“Max Weber”, 2015).
Weber also tried to examine how society functions as a whole. He argues that social actions create structures which can be broadly termed as social structures; on the other hand, the structures are responsible for making the social actions happen. The same confirms that there is no way we can have social structures without social actions (Little et al., 2014). This affirms that social actions are responsible for making the society. Weber insists that sociology should lay emphasis on social actions as the basis of society. Social actions are ones that an individual conducts, attaching some meaning to them. In order to prove his position that the society is made of individual actions, Weber accepts the standpoint about the existence of classes as well as groups of people in the society. Various groups in the society are also related to or associated with actions. He argues that the actions of individuals who exist in any society are responsible for making the society (Little et al., 2014).
His argument on social action and its role in making the society is also eminent from his clarification of social actions. Weber claims that there are certain actions that are conducted due to traditions. In this case, people do not even think about what they are doing; they just have a notion that it is what is expected of them (“Social action”, 2015). This means that some actions are performed in a certain way since it has been the order. For example, people wear clothes because this has been the order. As people continue to practice these traditional actions, they start relating themselves to the actions. Consequently, the latter form a tradition or a habit. The totality will be a society that is characterized by some actions. This explains that the actions of an individual are very critical in the formation of society (“Social action”, 2015).
In his explanation of social action as the foundation of society, Weber also states that social action must have a relationship with the future, present, and past behaviors of other people. It may also incorporate failures to act. Moreover, it may include behaviors oriented to the past and the present. Weber affirms that social action is the basis of society by arguing that it does not occur in isolation (Little et al., 2014). Due to such nature of social action, a society is formed. For example, if an individual worships an idol alone, such act cannot be termed as a social action. However, when a group of individuals worship idols, then it can be denoted as a social action. The group, in turn, can be termed as a society. The above explanation reveals and supports the fact that social action is the basis of society (Bryant, 2014).
Additionally, the cooperation as well as the struggle of individuals is what makes a society. If individuals only had a mere contact and never did anything, there is no way it would be possible to talk about the social action. The latter presupposes the cooperation between various groups in a society. According to Weber, social action can only occur when people in a group behave like one another. Social actions simply occur due to the influence from others (Bryant, 2014). When people affect the behaviors of others, they act as a society. The same confirms that society consists of individual actions. Being sensitive as well as enduring the actions of other people forms the foundation of society. Therefore, according to Weber’s argument, society is made of social actions that revolve around tolerating the behaviors of other people in the society (“Max Weber”, 2015).
Weber also puts an exclusive emphasis on explaining how individuals act. He defines various types of actions that reveal how individuals spend their lives while acting in different ways. People behave differently because of their personal reasons. Some people act in a certain manner because they hold a strong value towards such way of expression. Others resort to a particular behavior pattern because they have a certain objective. The above information indicates that the circumstances at hand play a crucial role in shaping the actions of an individual (“Max Weber: Basic Terms”, n.d.).
Finally, social action possesses a relevant explanation for and a meaningful understanding of the actions of others. Weber states that any human action is accompanied by a social character (“Max Weber: Basic Terms”, n.d.). The performer must demonstrate a meaningful understanding of others. The same explains that people cannot live in a society without social actions.
Sociology can engage with the concepts of Max Weber by breaking them so that learners could understand these concepts. It would be beneficial if sociology could reduce various concepts to an understandable action as a way of engaging the works of Weber in sociology (“Max Weber”, 2015). This will also make it easy for learners to get a clear insight of the concepts as well as how to apply them. Sociology should also focus on all the concepts without expectation of the individual action. This will not only enrich sociology but will also embrace some of the critical concepts that learners need to explore (Campbell, 1996).
Additionally, sociology can engage with these concepts when trying to explain how societies are formed. They can apply the concept of social action when explaining how the actions of an individual contribute to the formation of society. The same concepts can also be employed to elucidate social actions in the future as well as in the contemporary world (Campbell, 1996).
On the other hand, sociology can also utilize the concepts that Weber used theorizing about social action to explain other concepts as well as improve the works of Weber. For example, Weber placed a lot of emphasis on individual actions, but he did not incorporate the concept of social action in a group. Sociology can engage the concepts applied by Weber to explain social actions in large groups as well as institutions (Allan, 2006).
Sociology can also benefit from the concepts of Weber by means of incorporating some of the important considerations that the scholar did not recognize in his works. For example, Weber did not pay attention to the issue of disagreements as well as conflicts between various groups. He considered social action in an ideal situation. However, this may not be the case since conflicts and disagreements are part of the society (Little et al., 2014).
In addition, sociology can explain the concepts by demonstrating how the society functions. Weber presents a strong argument that one has to understand how society operates in order to comprehend the social action of an individual. Therefore, it would be beneficial to include the concept when explaining social processes in terms of sociology (Parkin, 2002).
The concepts can also be engaged when trying to provide answers to some questions. The theories applied by Weber provide a solution to why individuals behave in a certain way (Parkin, 2002). Since sociology is a discipline that revolves around social issues and theorizes about how human beings relate to each other, Weber’s explanations are very relevant to the discipline, and thus they need to be incorporated. Finally, the concepts are very important in the social world since they provide a detailed analysis of social actions.
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