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Lecture 1

SOCB43H3 Lecture 1: SOCB43-lecture notes

Course Code
Dan Silver

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January 16th 2014
Lecture 2
Outline for today
Max Weber
Sociology as Science of Action
Natural vs. social science
- Stratification
Weber talks about capitalism and bureaucracy
Durkheim will go onto DOL, diff take than Smith
Weber life
- born 1864
- Father was a big shot in local political life
Around the household a lot of political culture
Mother came from similar family background, but she was much more literally and
He was an entrepreneur
- he was not known as a great student
- liked to read
- he joined the military after uni when was required and became very close to
his aunt and uncle
- They were much more supportive of his intellectuals
- Fell in love with their daughter, his cousin
- That was the love of his love
- After his military service, moved back to Berlin, lived with parents for 8 years
- He was then on track of being a professor
- (e was financially dependent of his parents and very resentful of father’s
authoritative behavior
- He was an intense workaholic
- Very disciplined with his work like a monk
- Eventually he did get married and got a full professorship and married
Maryann Weber
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o She would talk with Max all the time, and host meetings and wrote
important things too. Close intellectually but had zero romance.
- Weber never had a sexual relationship until he was in the 40s with an affair
o Around that tie he wrote about the spiritual value of sex and sexual
attraction etc.
- During that time, people wanted to hear what he though. One day his parents
visited and accused father of mistreating mother. One month later father died
and then Weber had a mental breakdown.
- In 1903 his powers returned and became prolific again. He builds up
organization structures for disciplined sociology.
- World War I, Weber had deep national sympathies for Germany
o Later he became disillusioned, and he tried to influence the war toe nd
on good terms
- He had studies of the great religions
- He was studying how these religions create ethics and how we think about
economic and political. He wanted to show how spiritual life guides different
Sociology as a Science of Action
- He started working on these after his breakdown
- Main answer to this was sociology was a science of action
- That means that to understand logic of society, you have to understand
human beings doing things in reference to one another, and in particular
need to understand what motivates people. What their values are, concerns
are. Need to understand what matters to people and why they do them. Why
are they doing this thing? What they hope to get out of that experience, are
they there for salvation, what does that idea come from, what are the
consequences? Weber takes seriously people’s ideas and motivations.
- Some motivation- status, power, recognition
- Focus are on that, not on institutions like Durkheim
- Need to think about subjective meaning of people attached of the things they
- True people do stuff for just no reason, but sometimes its your genes,
sometimes its not based on your subjective motivation and those are not
topics of sociology.
- Science of action of what people is attached to what they are doing.
- There are a lot of people, how can you understand that in a systematic way?
o Just so messy
o How will you understand meanings of reasons that drive people to do
the things they do?
o In order to do that you need something called:
o Tells you what types of actions they are
o If you know that, tells you what to look for any concrete case of people
doing things
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o Theory of the things that people can do
o What are the diff meanings that can motivate action
o What he does is to distinguish 4 major types of action
o Distinguishing those, they are not the only 4, but Weber says not lets
get hung up on that, put these out there to understand people in a
more powerful way.
o THE FOUR types of actions to Weber
1. Purposive rationality
Goal- oriented/ teleological
Way of understanding why people are doing
Beating someone up to get their lunch up is purposive
rationality, its just about achieving the goal
This type of action is rationale with the tools you have
available with the goals you want in the most efficient
Do it without emotion
what matters to you is the outcome
If you are an engineer and you show up to a small town
and there is a river and a small field, for religious
reasons the people don’t want to go across the river,
and you say the best thing to do is to build a bridge for
the river but the town people say no because God wont
allow it. Engineer is thinking in a purposive rationale
way to achieve a goal without thinking of other things.
2. Value- oriented rationality
Got people fighting and doesn’t make sense try to figure
out what’s going, and you ask if you want the lunch
money. And you try other reasons for why this is
happening and you find out that the other guy said
something about the guy’s mother. )t comes from
defending a value. T(E (ONOR OF YOUR FAM)LY
Certain things become rational if you accept the value
like the honor of your family value to fight for your
This value rationality is focused on the intention rather
than the consequences. Purposive rationality focuses on
the consequences.
Fighting for mom will do it come what may of the
consequence, what is important is that you are staying
true to that value.
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