Action - a symbol of civilization and a category of sociology
The word action ( action ) is familiar to every reader, especially the young one. They denote the genre of computer games, where the success of a player depends on its speed of reaction and correct tactics, the genre of feature films, as well as a work of art (most often a film or book, sometimes a computer game), whose plot consists of quickly changing actions. Synonyms are action, movement, action, detective, event, extreme.
Help . Action - any action, movement, event; a kind of painting typical for the 1950's, reflecting the direct, instinctive, arbitrary impulse of the artist; musical movements, including hands and feet, in time with the performed music or song. In most cases, action games are militants or detectives, and actions are shootouts or fights. However, there are action games on historical, everyday and other topics, where actions in the general case are any dynamic acute situations. In the action category there are shooters, fighting games, platformers, etc. Action-figurine - a toy figure made of plastic, depicting the character of a film, comic book or computer game, both humanoid and non-humanoid. Action - an option in Photoshop, when we call it, we get a beautiful image with different effects. Photoshop will process all the processing automatically.
Action - this is a symbolically generalized image of our civilization in the XX and XXI centuries. Not mobility, i.e. moving large social groups from one country or one stratum to another, namely an active gaming action produced sitting on the spot - most often on a TV screen or computer monitor. We travel without going off the couch, studying and working remotely, sitting at the computer. Mental actions have long replaced the real physical.
T. Parsons, whose category action is the basic, guessed the essence of our civilization back in the 1930s. And he did not just guess, but prepared its theoretical basis - he created a general sociological theory of action.
However, this is not the first attempt of sociologists. The first attempt was made to solve the problem of social action M. Weber - a spiritual mentor and "scientific adviser" Parsons, with whom they, however, personally never crossed. But the German sociologist dealt with the classification of social actions: purpose and value, rational, traditional and affective. In a strict sense, the classification was not a scientific theory, because it did not contain hypotheses that were tested in practice, did not explain the laws of the development or functioning of society. Let's say that the more a volume of purposeful action in a society, the more open and modern it is. This is an example. We could offer Weber also other patterns. But he did not do anything. Therefore, he has a typology, but there is no theory of social action.
The American sociologist decided to step further and offer not a typology, but a theory of social action. And not private, suitable for any one sphere of society, say economic or social, but universal, describing any actions. In other words, the action in general, the action as such. And this is a step towards philosophy rather than exact science.
According to Weber, "the action encompasses all human behavior when and since the acting individual believes in him a subjective meaning". Therefore, action is one of the cases of behavior. Parsons has the opposite: action is a general category, behavior is a private concept. Parsons explains his position: "We prefer to use the term" action "rather than" behavior ", since we are not interested in the physical eventfulness of behavior in itself, but its pattern, the sense-containing action products (physical, cultural, etc.) from simple tools to works of art, as well as the mechanisms and processes that control this pattern. "
Action, game culture, virtual reality are all symbols of modern civilization, the world of our children.
And Parsons has the main sociological category.Sometimes it seems that Parsons never studied in Germany (in the world-famous Heidelberg University), did not study the works of M. Weber, was not his pupil, and in general, that historians are in vain called the hundred chief curator and propagandist of the great German . Why? Yes, because the theoretical and methodological principles of Weber and Parsons are not that different, but almost the opposite. Weber is rightly considered to be a sociological nominalism, and Parsons with lesser grounds can be included in the camp of sociological realists. According to Weber, the starting point of sociological analysis is the individual, for Parsons the main The construction of the theory of social systems is society.
Parsons can even be suspected of a certain pan-systematism, ie. exaggerating the role of systematics in the world around them. Practical life is an ongoing process of social systematization. Everyday activities, upbringing and socialization are also bricks of the general system and within themselves are also small systems, or subsystems.
Why is it talking about pan-systematism, but, say, not about panfunctionalism or pan-realism?
For Parsons, the physical substratum of social action is accidental, and the sociocultural meaning is necessary. The meaning is important, and the substrate is additional. This is the anatomy of social action. More precisely, social behavior as a chain of individual actions (acts), connected by a common sense and subordinated to a single logic. Beyond this sense and beyond this logic, individual actions can mean nothing. They are generally incomprehensible outside the whole. But not only sense and logic act as cement, linking disparate links into a strong chain of behavior. Such a function is also capable of fulfilling the following goals: 1) action is always a process that is considered primarily in terms of its connection with goals and is called differently: "implementation", "realization" and "achievement"; 2) the existence of a certain sphere of choice available to the actor in relation to both ends and means, in conjunction with the notion of normative orientation, and also presupposes the possibility of "error", failure to achieve the goal or "wrong" choice of means; 3) this scheme is subjective, namely: it deals with phenomena, with objects and events, as they appear to that actor , whose action is analyzed and subjected to consideration. "
Parsons views the "social system as one of the primary subsystems of the system of human action along with such subsystems as the organism, the personality of the individual and the cultural system". What are we talking about here, if we remain in the positions of sound logic? First, the system of human action is a more general category than the social system and society. Secondly, the social system is placed on a par with such things as the organism, the personality of the individual and the cultural system. Both conclusions are extremely contradictory.
Parsons argues that "human action is" cultural "in so far as the meanings and intentions of actions are expressed in terms of symbolic systems (including the codes by which they are realized in appropriate patterns) associated primarily with language as a common property of human societies" ;
So who does the social action of Parsons - the individual, the subject, the person, the actor or the person?
In other words, the greeting gesture is a cultural and social action at the same time, because it is embedded in a certain symbolic system, namely, the tradition of greeting two people who first saw each other and are significant to each other. It exists among all nations, but is represented by various symbolic actions - from rubbing noses to shaking hands. Participants in the scientific conference are important individuals for each other, for they sit together in a section, and passers-by on the street are insignificant. And then, at a big conference, not everyone is greeting each other, for a large number of people produce the effect of strangers who are unfamiliar with each other. The set of customs associated with the greeting, the existing written and unwritten rules of conduct, recorded in the general scientific, industrial or fiction literature, movies that demonstrate such actions, a lot of everyday greeting acts demonstrated by the population of the country and passed from adults to children through family and schooling , constitute the very symbolic system, in the context of which only the meaning of a concrete action is read - a man and a woman clasped their hands tightly and They do not let go of each other for some time, while smiling with all their might. Perhaps an extraterrestrial unfamiliar with our culture, this action seemed more than strange.
So, social action is just a stroke of the symbolic subsystem of society. Only in it does it acquire meaning and only in it does it exist as a sociocultural event. After removing the action from this system, we kill it.
Perhaps it would be wrong to accuse Parsons of methodological abstraction, although he provided enough grounds for such accusations. Along with the broader understanding of social action, Parsons has a concept of action in a narrow sense, to which the concrete actions of people, including social interaction, are relevant. When in his writings we are talking about the fact that the actions are "empirically indecomposable", act as "conjuncture", then under "conjunctures" is understood system of action in the broad sense of the word, ie. general system of social action with its subsystems. Parson's theory includes a general theory of social evolution and a concrete interpretation of the main trends of world history.
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