Theory of Action: Post-Parsonian Development
Theory of action: post-Parsonian development
Although after Weber appeared several versions of the theory of action (R. M. MacIver, F. Znanieckí, H. Becker), but only Parsons’ theory of action has came between them as the leader. Thanks to the synthesis of some of the main approaches of the classical sociology (M. Weber, E. Durkheim, V. Pareto ) , of the neobehaviorism (E.Tolman), of the psychoanalysis (S. Freud) , of the social anthropology etc. Parsons was able to offer the richest model of action. It has contained the categories: the goal, the means, the situation and the norms. Later he has added the category of the motive.
Further development of the theory of action took place partly in the context of interpretive sociology, which had not the nature of en explicit theory of action, but was based on the action, not on the behavior. The process did not go by the addition of new categories into the model of action, but in the form of articulation of the central principles, that fundamentally changed the direction of research. The symbolic interactionism of H. Blumer, for example, has stressed the subjective dimension of action. The social dramaturgy of E. Goffman has transferred the emphasis from the achievement to the expressivity of the action. Finally, the ethnomethodology od H. Garfinkel has replaced the interest of the theory of action from the motive to the method, the procedure of action etc.