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Lecture 1

SOCB43 Lecture 1: SOCB43 ALL lecture notes.docx

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
Power -Authority
- 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 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
- He 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
oShe would talk with Max all the time, and host meetings and wrote
important things too. Close intellectually but had zero romance.

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- Weber never had a sexual relationship until he was in the 40s with an affair
oAround 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
oLater 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 do
- 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?
oJust so messy
oHow will you understand meanings of reasons that drive people to do the
things they do?
oIn order to do that you need something called:
oTells you what types of actions they are
oIf you know that, tells you what to look for any concrete case of people
doing things
oTheory of the things that people can do
oWhat are the diff meanings that can motivate action
oWhat he does is to distinguish 4 major types of action

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oDistinguishing 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.
oTHE 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 way
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. It comes from defending a value. “THE
Certain things become rational if you accept the value like
the honor of your family value to fight for your family.
This value rationality is focused on the intention rather than
the consequences. Purposive rationality focuses on the
Fighting for mom will do it come what may of the
consequence, what is important is that you are staying true
to that value.
Defend value no matter the consequence. Purposive is
about the consequence and if the value of consequence
change, you will change that too.
3. Affective
Action based on emotional condition of people doing it
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