Action theory (sociology)  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

In sociology, action theory refers to the theory of social action presented by the American theorist Talcott Parsons.

Parsons established action theory in order to integrate the study of social order with the structural and voluntaristic aspects of macro and micro factors. In other words it may be described as an attempt to maintain the scientific rigour of positivism, while acknowledging the necessity of the "subjective dimension" of human action incorporated in hermeneutic types of sociological theorizing. Parsons sees motives as part of our actions. Therefore, he thought that social science must consider ends, purposes and ideals when looking at actions. Parsons placed his discussion within a higher epistemological and explanatory context of system theory and cybernetics.


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