Max Weber (1864-1920) was a renounced social theorist who researched and propounded many innovative theories regarding civic authorities and societies. ‘Theory of Social Action’ is one such great theory propagated by Weber. Weber propounded the ‘Theory of Social Action’ with a vision to clarify the proper domain of analysis pertaining to society and social values. He rightly observed that without a proper understanding of the exact values, beliefs, and intentions that motivate and inspire an individual, it is not possible to comprehend the social phenomena. According to Weber, under such circumstances, social phenomena can be exposed to description and cannot be analyzed properly. Therefore, Weber puts the social action at the center of the sociological inquiry and argues that understanding of individual behavior is more important to comprehend social action and behavior collectively. Man as an individual or cell of society is always given an upper hand in terms of constructing or deconstructing social phenomena, ideals or values (University of Missouri, 2009).
If one tries to understand the concept of modern society or traditional society, the behavior of individuals, who constitute it, comes first. “The contrast between modern and traditional man is the source of contrast between modern society and traditional society”, views Norman W. Provizer (1978) in his epoch-making book on comparative politics named as “Analyzing the Third World: Essays from Comparative Politics”. .
Modern social theorists or the sociologists of the twentieth century precisely view the difference between modern society and traditional society from the perspective of the individuals residing within it, their behavior towards the society and their behavior among themselves. Weber defined the ‘Theory of Social Action’ on a plane very much close to the thought process of the modern sociologists. The concept of social action from Weber’s perspective initiates from the difference between human action and human behavior.