Max Weber Essay

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Max Weber's Forms of Action

Max Weber sought to comprehend the motivations or mental states that influence people's social behavior in his writings. Affective activity, instrumental-rational action, conventional action, and value-rational action are the four forms of action that Weber identified (Appelrouth & Edles, 2008).

  • Affective Activity

    Affective activities typically occur in order to communicate one's feelings when an individual is overcome by their emotions.

  • Instrumental-Rational Action

    A sort of social activity known as instrumental-rational is one that is undertaken after carefully analyzing its implications and considering the various approaches that might be taken to accomplish it.

  • Conventional Action

    The traditional social action is used to characterize a choice by the things that have been done as a tradition in a family or the society as a whole.

  • Value-Rational Action

    Value-rational is the actions that are taken for they end up in a valued objective, but there is no deep assessment of the outcomes and also no contemplation of the suitability of the ways used to achieve it.

Actions of James and Anthony

In the case of James and Anthony, James actions of working hard and completing his assignment on time can be classified as instrumental-rational actions. James works hard and attends classes without failure with a mind of the achievements he will attain at the end of it. Anthony's action of copying James' work portrays a value-rational action in that he wants to get whatever grade but he does not take his time to contemplate the consequences of his actions and the means used to attain the grade. We can see that he is contented with grade F that he is awarded after submitting the copied work. The affective action is well demonstrated by James when he cries after attaining grade F. He expresses his feelings of disappointment by breaking down and crying. The traditional social action is presented by both James and Antony when they promise the teacher they will never repeat the mistake again. It is a tradition of students to repeat some actions even after promising not to do them again only they try to use more clever ways to cover the mistakes.

Weber's Types of Legitimate Domination

Question 2

Apart from the legal authority, Weber has also outlined other types of legitimate domination which are the traditional authority and charismatic authority.

  • Traditional Authority

    Traditional authority entails the acceptance of traditional rights that are set by an official and governing person or a group, and the rights are not challenged by the minor persons. The traditional authority takes different forms which are tribal, clan or family structures, religious or spiritual forms, or well recognized and slowly varying culture. This governing person in this type of authority may be a family head, a priest, clan leader, or another headman (Edles, & Appelrouth, 2013). Gerontocracy and patriarchalism are the types of traditional authority, the latter being the most important form in which legitimacy responses upon tradition. This authority governs the clan, household, or the society. Other forms of traditional authority are patrimonialism, a more modern form, and feudalism that is considered be significant in the historical times. According to Weber, traditional authority is a way of which there are formation and conservation of inequity, and it prevents the improvement of legal forms of authority.

  • Charismatic Authority

    Charismatic authority involves an individual who has possession of extraordinary or supernatural features that makes him a leader. The leader has the power of charisma which makes his followers have great trust and faith which is unbreakable. The authority wholly depends on the relationship between the exceptional leader and his followers. Charismatic authority is characterized by; leaders must lead in a way that benefits the followers, followers worship the leaders heroically or spiritually, and the followers must listen and act as the leader say so as to appease them. Charisma is only valid during the lifespan of the leader; it dissolves when the charismatic leader leaves or dies (Edles, & Appelrouth, 2013).


Appelrouth, S., & Edles, L. D. (2008). Classical and contemporary sociological theory: Text and readings. Los Angeles, Calif: Pine Forge Press

Edles, L. D., & Appelrouth, S. (2013). Sociological theory in the classical era: Text and readings.

March 15, 2023
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Max Weber Social Norms Theory

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