The term “act” refers to the fundamental building block of social interaction and a unit of activity that typically has a goal or meaning assigned to it by the person engaging in it. An act is a unique action or behavior that is used to carry out or execute any series of social behaviors.
Action and behavior
A. Talcott Parsons
The basic unit of sociological analysis, according to Parsons, is the act, which includes
- An agent or actor,
- A climax or prospective state of affairs to which action is oriented,
- A situation that contains the conditions and means for action, and
- A collection of norms by which acts are steered and carefully chosen paths.
Sociologists distinguish between behavior and action, with the latter involving intent, awareness, and a goal.
B. George H. Mead
According to George H. Mead, the act is characterized by its impulse description of the circumstance and culmination.
C. Weberian evaluation
Weber established the fundamental difference between action and behavior when he described sociology as a discipline that strives to comprehend the significance of the action.
D. Various dimensions
Writers like Schutz have argued that the idea of the act is far more nuanced than Weber’s method would imply. For instance, what is intended is not always apparent when acts and circumstances are given meaning. An act’s primary relevance to sociologists is that it is deliberate and geared toward achieving a specific objective.