Max Weber – Social and Non-social action | Four Ideal types of Social Action

Max Weber – Social and Non-social action | Four  Ideal types of Social Action

Max Weber believed that structural and action perspectives were required to obtain a comprehensive understanding of community and societal changes. An activity becomes social when it includes contact with other individuals and has a particular form of social significance.

For classifying an action as social, an individual should interact with another than himself or herself. All the actions performed by individuals in society have a specific meaning in that particular context in societal interaction.

What is social action? 

“Action is ‘social’ in the sense that its subjective interpretation takes into consideration the conduct of others and is therefore steered in its path.

What is non-social action?

A non­social activity is one that is carried out as solo individualistically with no one to connect with; it cannot be societal since no one is observing or joining the participant in the action.

What are the four types of social action?

Max Weber classified four types of ideal actions: goal rational action, value rational action, affective social action, and traditional social action. 

Goal Rational Action

Ambition-based goal-oriented social activity is known as goal rational action. The desire to attain the highest educational qualification and intend to make the highest earnings is goal-oriented rational action.

Value rational action

The moral parameters are considered for their efficacy, while the aims are justified by their worth, and rationality is appraised based on aesthetic, religious, or constitutional ideals. An activist supporting a discriminated individual in society based on moral code is an example of value rational action.

Affective Social Action

Individual emotion drives affective social action, and no rational determination of means and aims is made throughout the process. The emotion-based response towards others when a person is angry is affective social action.

 Traditional Social Action

Societal customs and traditions play an imminent role in the traditional social action of an individual in this process. For example, handshaking when meeting a person is a traditional social action.


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