SOCB43 Lecture 2 Sociology as the Science of Action
-Theory of Action
-Natural vs. Social Science
Power: Authority and Stratification
Pg 312 Pk 1 – Socio is a science … action, interpretative understanding, subjective meaning,
reference to others
Social behaviour is when behaviours are directed towards other people.
Spencer – social body; giant organisms; what systems are symbolic of each other
Marx social class, private property
Durkheim – systems that support cohesion
Weber – what does something mean to you? How does it affect your life? Where do definitions
come from? What do you get out of something?
How do you study something like this is a scientific and systematic way? There is a present
and past – how are they related? Need a theory ahead of time to relate to.
Theory of Action
Actions … Tells you what are the main types of actions that people can undertake? How people
make behaviour meaningful? (pg. 329 Pkg 1 four types of action, not the only ones)
1) Purposive Rational (goal oriented, instrumental) – if you can figure out the person’s goal,
way of achieving goal, considered consequences, willing to adjust to any changes.
Ex. walks out of class and see someone throw their arm. Why? Maybe they had a random
tick; not an action. Or, did they have a reason for doing this. Maybe someone was
threatening him and he tried to defend himself.
2)Value Rational – it makes sense, not by having a worked out plan, but standing behind
that is unconditionally valued, regardless of consequences, etc.
Ex. person defending their honour, spouse, values, pride, morals (more than just a
random act; won’t question that value).
3) Affective (Emotional) Action – emotional reaction to something that happened; no
thought, plan or value related. One is expressing an emotional reaction
4) Traditional Action – like the affective, it doesn’t go with thought about purpose, you just
do it because that is how it was always done.
Why do we do this? Why is this a good idea?