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Lecture

SOCB43H3 Lecture Notes - Verstehen, 6 Years, Ideal Type


Department
Sociology
Course Code
SOCB43H3
Professor
Dan Silver

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SOCB43 – Lecture #1 – 2014-Jan-16
Max Weber
Life  born in 1964, oldest of seven children, father was middle-high class, his
mother came from a similar background
oNot known as a great student when he was younger, joined the military
as required in university, and became very close to his uncle, that is
important because his uncle has more intellectual than his parents
oFell in love with his uncle’s daughter, his cousin, engaged for 6 years, but
due to his fiancée’s both mental and physical illness, their engagement
eventually ended
oWent back to Berlin and live with his parents for a while, became a lawyer
then a professor
oEventually he did became married, although there is not real values in
that marriage
oBecame famous after he awoke from his loveless marriage and affair, his
career worked great but had a fight with his father when he came to visit,
his father died a month later, Weber had a mental meltdown and did not
recover for 5 years
oLater in his life Weber started to study religions and ethics again, and
study how spiritual values shapes how people lived
Sociology as science
sociology as a science in action, to understand the logic of society, one has
to understand how we do things, what motivates people, what their values are
oWhy do people do the things they are doing?  structure of organization?
what do they hope to obtain from doing what they are doing?
oTo do sociology, we need to understand the subjective meaning,
subjective motivation
oHow to study the subjective meaning of people’s action in a systematic
way; they are very different  in order to do that, one needs a theory of
action
Theory of action tells you what types of action there are, if you
know that, you know to look for what people are doing; you need a
theory of things that people do; Weber distinguishes four major
types of action, however that is not to say that those are the only
four types of action, one may find a mixed aspect of what they are
doing;
Four types of theory of action  goal, means to achieve the goal
oPurposive rationality (goal–oriented, teleological)  a person who
doesn’t care about what the consequences, but simply to achieve the
goal in the most efficient way, what matters is the outcome (for example,
a student beating another student for lunch money is an example);
purposive action is focused on the consequences
oValue-oriented rationality  it’s something that seems nonsense, but has
a structure of value and meaning to it, if you accept the value, then it
makes sense for people to do what they do (defending of value); value-
oriented rationality does not care about the consequences,
committed to the value
oAffective  emotional conditions of the people doing it; out of anger,
sadness, etc.; there is no rationality to it, not thought through
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