Traditional and Modernity
In my social theory class, we looked at Max Weber’s concepts of social action. According to Weber there are four types of social action: traditional, affectual, value-rational and instrumental- rational. Traditional is guided by behaviors that have been repeatedly followed. Affectual is determined by the individual’s specific affects and feeling. Value-rational is determined by a conscious belief in the value for its own sake (religious or ethical). And instrumental-rational is determined by calculated risk-whatever ends will get you to your means. What Weber argues is that we have moved from a traditional society to a more modern one and thus our values have changed. Traditional action is not rationale; you just do it because it has always been done. In a modern society, instrumental-rational is more favored, we question our action and we undermine traditional commitment.
Robert Putnam talks about how civic participation, religious participation, and community participation have all declined and he always compared as to our parents, or to our grand parents. But he needs to understand that times have changed. We live in a modern world, were we question our action and we pay less attention to traditional action. We work more hours, and with the new technologies such as the internet, we might participate differently in our society. Our values might have changed, we might have become more individualistic but that might not be a bad thing. If we work to better our selves first, then we might work on helping one another.