Weber of course did not deny that choices of action arise from historical

Weber of course did not deny that choices of action

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historical studies with social action theory, the examination of intentions behind actions. Weber, of course, did not deny that choices of action arise from historical circumstances, but he stressed that actors choose between alternative actions, Individuals may not write their own parts, to extend the theoretical analogy, but they extemporize a good deal. Thus Weber provides a bridge between positivist and phenomenological methods in sociology (Susan and Peter Calver, 1992). Put differently, Weber defines ‘action’ as “all human behaviour when and in so far as the acting individual attaches a subjectiv e meaning to it”, and defines “social action” as action which “takes account of the behaviour of others and is thereby oriented in its
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British Journal of Arts and Social Sciences ISSN: 2046-9578 17 course”. Social action, then, is subjectively meaningful behaviour, which is influenced by, or oriented towards, the behaviour of others. He stressed that, in any investigation, sociologists must try to “understand” the subjective meanings of social actions for the actors he is studying. If he fails to understand correctly or adequately, his theories and explanations will be based upon a misrepresentation of social reality and will be scientifically of little value. What we are saying in essence here is that, for, Weber, a science of society must seek to understand social reality “at the level of meaning”. Sociological inquir y must penetrate people’s consciousness and discover how they view, define, and see the world. Weber advocated the method of “verstehen”, or “sympathetic introspection”. Investigators must become sufficiently involved in situations to be able to get inside the subject world of actors. He maintained that causal and statistical analysis of complex social structures would be incomplete and inaccurate without such verstehen analysis (Turner, 1998). These analogies of Weber have been criticized by Schutz for failing to bring out the inter- subjective nature of the social world. In Schutz’s eye, Weber simply assumes that actors share subjective meanings, leading Schutz to ask; Why and how do actors come to acquire common subjective states in a situation? How do they create a common view of the world? This is the problem of inter-subjectivity and it is central to Schutz’s intellectual scheme. Relationship between Symbolic Interactionism and Phenomenological sociology This school of thought derives primarily from the work of the philosopher and psychologist George Herbert Mead (1843 1931) at the University of Chicago, though the term was coined much later. Both symbolic interactionists and phenomenologists are principally concerned with studying inter-personal social interaction. Both regard social interaction as consisting of meaningful communicative activity between persons, involving mutual interpretive work. For instance, George Herbert Mead deal with the growth of ‘self’ from the ‘I’ and the ‘Me’ in his work. In fact, he dealt not only with the observable actions of individuals but also with overt activities.
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