Rise of sociology as an intellectual tradition. Classical tradition in sociology of the XIX century — страница 6

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the exploitation of the weak by the strong. In other words, a conflict between groups results in subordination of one group by another of which supremacy relations arise, and it serves as the basis for establishing the state. The scientist held that social development rose out of conflict, first among races, then among states, then among other social groups. This is the essence of the sociological theory of the state by L. Gumplowicz which asserts that the state is based on power, and this contradicts the theory of contractual agreements. In the long run, his views were oriented to give proofs to the theses on inevitability of a social conflict determined by social and biological inequality of races. However, a proposition stating that social groups are basic factors of social

life makes sociology of L. Gumplowicz tied up with the present. If to differentiate two theoretic aspects in sociology – the theory of integration and the theory of conflict, the Polish-Austrian researcher can be considered the founding father of the latter. Maximilian Weber (1864-1920), an outstanding classic of German sociology, is acknowledged as one of the founders of a modern study of sociology and public administration. His three main themes were the effect of religious ideas on economic activities, the relation between social stratification and religious ideas, and the distinguished characteristics of Western civilization. Weberian sociology is based on the concept of social action understood as behaviour to which human beings attach a specific meaning or set of

meanings. It is also behaviour that is guided by or takes account of behaviour of other people (either as individuals or as a group). Meaningful social behaviour, or social action thus contrasts with nonsocial or reactive behaviour, undertaken automatically in response to some stimulus. Just as people act on the basis of meaning, it’s important to understand the source of these meanings and thus motivation behind human social behaviour. To reveal the basis of social action M. Weber used a method of analysis called Verstehen (to understand), whereby the motivations of human social behaviour may be fruitfully revealed to the observer. That’s why his sociology is often called Understanding or Interpretative Sociology. It states that any research can never be fully inductive or

descriptive without a conceptual apparatus. This apparatus was identified by the sociologist as the ideal type. The idea can be summarized as follows: an ideal type is formed of characteristics and elements of the given phenomena but it is not meant to correspond to all of the characteristics of a particular case. For instance, a choleric is a hot, fussy, easy-going person, but a particular individual, John by name, may be a difficult man to get on with. Although being an abstraction, it is essential to understand any particular social phenomena because, unlike physical phenomena, they involve human behaviour which must be interpreted by ideal types. To M. Weber, social actions fall into four basic types: (1) action oriented by expectations of behaviour of other people in the

surrounding milieu (in Russian terminology: целерациональное действие). It means that an individual is rational as he clearly sees the aim, means for its achievement and foresees other people’s reaction to it; the criterion of rationality is success; (2) action oriented to some absolute value as embodied in some ethical, aesthetic, or religious code (ценностно-рациональное действие). In other words, action which is morally guided, and not undertaken simply for one’s own gain; (3) action guided by emotive response to or feelings about the surrounding milieu (аффективное действие); (4) action performed as part of long-standing societal tradition (традиционное действие). Of these four

types, the last two are non-social behaviour whereas the first two types are inherently more social forms of human action, because they involve subjective assessment and result from the process of rationalization. Anyway, M. Weber never asserted that any of these types could operate independently of one another in the human individual. Typically, social action is guided by some combination of motivations, including both rational (the first and second types) and non-rational elements (the third and fourth types). M. Weber examined the concept of social action within a number of sociological fields, from class behaviour to politics and religion. Its best-known example is contained in his famous work, The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism (1904), in which the sociologist