SOCB43H3 Lecture Notes - Protestant Work Ethic, Social Inequality, Iron Cage

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4 Apr 2012
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Lec 2
1. Sociology as a Science of Action
a. Theory of action
b. Natural science vs social science
c. Ideal types
2. Power: Authority
a. Stratification
Sociology as a Science of Action
Something becomes social action when its oriented towards other ppl
Marx focused on the classes of ppl
Durkheim focused on the structures of organization
Weber focuses on how work gives the individual meaning
For Weber the purpose of work is to get closer to god
Theory of general action: the way in which an individual gives meaning to what they do
o 1. Goal oriented: something is done on purpose
This is the most rational because you think about the consequences and the
best means of getting the goal
o 2. Value oriented rationality: when you act on impulse
When you don’t think about the consequences
Ex. someone insults your mother so in an effort to defend her honour you
punch them
o 3. Affective Action: Emotional
The action is justified by emotional actions
This is not random, b/c you can make sense out of it
Ex. Nobody insults your mother but you are feeling angry for some other reason
so you punch someone
o 4. Traditional
There is no goal, and there is no value that is offended. But there is a tradition
Things are done simply because there is a tradition
There isn’t a lot of rationality
Ex. Birthday beats
Why is this distinction important?
o It helps you make systematic distinctions and compare it to different countries and see
why it differs. It helps you think about the cause and effects
o It also helps you think about the historical development b/c more and more decisions
are being made based on the consequences instead of tradition
Natural Science vs. Social Science
The positivists (nomothetic): an explanation of an event is scientific under a general law
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