Social theory is the product of individuals minds Everything is an ideal type

Social theory is the product of individuals minds

This preview shows page 103 - 105 out of 120 pages.

Social theory- is the product of individuals minds. Everything is an ideal type. This is how we interpret our surrounding worlds. We need to construct an understanding of social reality, and to do so, we construct models in our heads. WE USE IDEAL TYPES to study SOCIAL ACTION . 5.4 EMPIRICAL TOOLS : The techniques used to link the ideal type to actual society. VERSTEHEN = a process of understanding (In German the word means understanding) = empathy/role taking Weber’s thoughts on verstehen were derived from a field of thought known as hermeneutics . HERMENEUTICS- was a special approach to understanding and interpretation of published writings. The goal was to understand the thinking of the author. Weber (along with Dilthey and then Simmel) tried to extend this idea from the understanding of texts, to the understanding
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10 of life. He sought to use the tools of hermeneutics to understand actors, interaction, and human history. VERSTEHEN is NOT simply the use of intuition by researchers Rather, it involves doing vigorous systematic research, not just getting a feel for social phenomena. - The word verstehen was derived by Simmel - like Simmel, Weber accepted the idea that meaning emerges not from the configuration of objects external to human subjects and not from the subjective thought processes of the autonomous individual. RATHER- meaning is constructed within a social interactional process that is a precondition for the emergence of both objects and subjects in the first place. - must use verstehen because action to which actors attach subjective meaning is the subject matter of sociology IT IS POSSIBLE TO USE METHODS OF THE NATURAL SCIENCE: It is possible to view human behaviors in phenomenal characteristics, such as observing the motions of people walking in a plaza by charting the movements of their bodies. We could try to explain human behavior by laws exactly the same as we would describe molecules. BUT , in order to explain SOCIAL ACTION we must take the role of the other. We have to ask why the action is meaningful to the subject of inquiry. VERSTEHEN : is the tool used by sociologists to understand what is going on- to understand the meaning that appears to the actor as a adequate reason for the behavior. - It is placing oneself in another person’s shoes in order to grasp the meaning system of the person or groups being studied. - There is an assumption being made that meaning is related to action, or that action is related to meaning! 5.5 CORRELATIONAL ANALYSIS Although Weber stated that he thought that sociology should be mostly interpretive, he added that there was nothing to stop sociologists from providing interpretive theorizing or causal explanations. - Used to estimate the causal adequacy - In other words, one must be able to demonstrate that the meaning interpreted is consistently related to the behavior being studied - The ultimate reason for doing causal analysis is to develop a hermeneutic understanding of the differences of diverging societies.
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  • Fall '13
  • levine
  • Sociology, Charles Montesquieu, Social Theory and Everyday Life

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