Social Action

Understanding social action

Your guide to social action

The concept was first pioneered by the sociologist Max Weber and is, therefore, sometimes referred to as Weberian social action to distinguish it from other theories that lay behind social behaviours. In sociology, an action is a behaviour or an act that is carried out by an individual. Such individuals – or agents, as they are more often called – do not behave in a social vacuum without reference to any other person. As such, Weber argued, actions must always be seen from the social point of view. A social act could consequently be seen as any type of act that a human being does which takes account of other people, whether this is a conscious thing or not. Anyone who interacts with other people in any way, therefore, could be carrying out some form of social action.

What types of social action are there?

Although theories of social phenomena existed to explain human behaviour before Weber, it is only after his ideas became widely accepted that other sociologists began to expand on the various forms of social action there are. Firstly, rational actions are one form of social action whereby acts are undertaken to lead towards a given or perceived goal. Instrumental action is another form which takes into account wider goals outside of a single aim, something that might be described as a ladder of actions - with a series steps - that must all be taken to achieve the desired outcome. Another common form is known as emotional action. An example of this might be the release of emotional tension following an event, such as crying at an unhappy occasion or cheering at a joyful one.

What is a social action model?

The social action model differs from the sociological principles we have looked at so far but is based on the same ideas developed by sociologists. In essence, it is a methodology in social work which aims to redress certain societal imbalances – of oppressed groups or communities, for example – by finding ways to get people to take a more meaningful part in society that is valued.

Does social action differ from action theory?

Action theory is an idea that was developed by Talcott Parsons and is one form of social action theory. It is a model that attempts to bring together the study of social order with structural and voluntaristic aspects of social theory, both positivist and idealistic. It is characterised by a systemic approach that makes use of qualitative and quantitative data.

Are traditional acts a form of social action?

In many cases, doing something traditional is a form of social action. An example might be not working on a Sabbath, for example, something that might last for generation after generation. Habits are a distinct form because, although they may be carried out regularly, they are not as long-lasting as established societal customs.

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Where is Happiness? Do you move through life feeling everyday is the same? Like some repeated pattern that goes on and on? For some people, there's nothing new to do under the sun, and nowhere to go. Everything is just boring, boring, boring. They work so hard to earn enough money to play, but yet their playtime passes so fast. Suffer five days, enjoy two days. Sometimes, to break the monotony, they seek thrill through intoxicants (alcohol, smoke), sex, and even drugs. For these temporary pleasures, it feels exciting while it's happening, but once it's over, the same pattern of meaninglessness sets in, and they're left thinking, "When can I get the next high?" Perhaps you will recognize this scene... Two old men are sitting on a bus. As the bus passes by the red-light district, one old man says to the other, "Hey... aren't you going to see the chickens (prostitutes) today?" The other man raises an eyebrow... a spark in his wrinkled eyes, "Yes, yes, I will be going this afternoon!" The first old man smirks, and says, "You didn't even bring your medicine, how can you DO IT?" For some people, their lust is so strong, that they borrow money from family and friends, just to visit brothels. You will see this pattern in addicts. Drug addicts, sex addicts, alcohol addicts. They're always looking for the greater thrill and the next high, and that's what sets their life on a downward spiral. They waste their time, energy, and money, instead of using it to build success. For life to have zest, everyone needs that natural feeling of drive, anticipation, and excitement. When one does not know how to get it naturally, one may resort to vices to stimulate that sense of being fully alive, desperately trying to bring some meaning into life. But you see, happiness is within you... If you can’t satisfy your wants, then the other way to happiness is to release them. Let go of that which you must have. Shakyamuni Buddha said that, "All desire leads to suffering..." Suffering because you crave what you do not have. And let me ask you this: Is this yearning self-created? Or something imposed on you by the outside world? Perhaps it's the outside world's fault because other people keep flaunting their luxuries and exotic experiences. But surely, we create this yearning within ourselves. It is within our power to control it, or release it altogether. Lord Richard Layard, Professor from the London School of Economics, a leading happiness researcher, says, "Happiness is a balance between your expectations and your attainments. One way is to get what you want. The other, is liking what you get." Many of our desires are misplaced. We think getting them will bring us happiness, but that is an illusion. These misplaced desires are nothing more than temporary pleasures. You don't need to satisfy your desires to be happy; you need only release them. Do you need the attention of the opposite sex? No, as you get older, your body parts will sag, and the opposite sex will pay less attention to you. Must you get laid to be happy? No, as you age, your sex hormones will lessen, and so will your desire to mate. Must you wait till you have a million bucks? Nope. Historical and worldwide research shows that above US$15,000 a year, higher income is no guarantee of greater happiness. The people who feel good everyday, without resorting to vices, have one mental characteristic in common. They have a dream, and they know what they want to achieve in life. This sense of purpose drives them; gives meaning to their existence. They have discovered their soul's calling, and are living life to the fullest by following it. This is different from those who are 'party animals', "living life to the fullest" by drowning in deafening music, and shaking till the sun rises... That's not living, that's dying. If you want to find true meaning and happiness in life, then you've got to uncover your life's purpose. For each of us has a unique destiny. A path made specially for you to walk on this journey through life. Follow it, and you arrive in paradise. Ignore it, and you continue to wander... wasting time, and life itself. You need to know what you’re made of. Your talents, strengths, and abilities. Craft a vision for yourself, and visualize that dream in your mind. Work out a plan that sets your goals and decides what actions you must take to achieve them. Tell your closest friends about it, and commit yourself to taking five of the planned actions everyday to build your dream. When you see that your actions are creating results, it will be a natural source of excitement and inspiration. Instead of spending time, energy, and money on vices, you invest it in creating an upward spiral of success. By releasing your desire for temporary pleasures, you kick your bad habit out the door. By choosing to live your purpose and answer your soul’s calling, you break free from the chains of monotony, and find truth, meaning, and happiness in life. Let's follow this video, please :
Offering5km around South Africa, Johannesburg 3 days ago

Similar interests to Social Action

In essence, volunteering is an altruistic pursuit that means offering one's skills, labour or resources to another person or group without any reward in return. It is often tied up with concepts like the quality of human life because people who volunteer are usually doing so in order to improve things, either by acting in a charitable way or by sharing their ideas for the good of the whole community. Volunteering programmes now run in many walks of life, such as charity retail shops, mentoring schemes and overseas development projects. Volunteers often report they are rewarded from their activities even though they receive no pay.
The word equality has its root in the Latin term for knights – or equites – which meant propertied men who, unlike common foot soldiers, had sufficient wealth to ride into battle on a horse. They considered themselves to be equals among their peers but of a distinct social class from the common soldiery. As such, the modern concept of equality never really means a level playing field for all – such ideas are more associated with the concept of egalitarianism. Equality can, therefore, mean different things to different people and have unique meanings in different contexts around the world. Many people who campaign for greater equality want outcomes to be more equal and for people to have a fair chance in life rather than ensuring everyone has an exactly shared out amount of resource and wealth.
In its broadest sense, caregiving is an act that helps to deliver care to an individual or group that would not necessarily be able to undertake certain actions themselves. This usually means daily activities in most cases, such as getting up and dressed, doing the laundry and taking care of personal hygiene. In a hospital setting, these sorts of caregiving jobs are generally assigned to nursing staff and orderlies. However, a caregiver tends to be the term that is used in wider society for much the same activity. As such, a caregiver usually performs some form of social work role in the community. Some operate on a live-in basis while others visit. In many situations, caregiving is carried out by a family member, usually to look after a child, a geriatric person or to help someone who has a chronic condition that prevents them from looking after themselves adequately.
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