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Definitions of Sociology and Social Action

Max Weber is considered one of the founding fathers of Sociology and as such, he defined sociology as “A comprehensive science of social action”. He further elaborated on the term social action, stating “An act that takes into account the action and reaction of an individual” (Mcintosh, 1997). This paper will discuss social action and explain it further using examples.

Social actions are actions to which a society has attributed meaning to and these actions are seen as logical behaviors. Contrary to this, deviant actions are perceived as illogical or irrational behaviors. The word “social” in social action means “relating to society or an organization” (Webster). Some simple examples of social action are volunteering, donating money, community action and simple neighborly acts. One of the biggest and probably the most famous social action took place in October 2019 when Mr. Beast a YouTuber announced a campaign to raise 20 million dollars to plant trees around the globe by the end of 2019. People took part in this campaign from all over the world and helped in raising the said amount. It is the most successful social action to date as it also helped in raising awareness on Global Warming (Leskin, 2019). “Free Britney”, was a social action movement that started towards the end of 2020 and gained momentum in 2021. This movement was started by Britney Spears’ fans to help the singer get out of conservatorship. It worked as in September of 2021, the conservatorship finally ended and Britney regained control over life (Newberry, 2021).

The definition of sociology and social action has evolved since Weber first defined them. Now, these definitions define broader concepts according to present-day society. This helps in gaining a better understanding of the social norms and behaviors. These social concepts will keep evolving with the ever-changing social behaviors.


Leskin, P. (2019, December 19). YouTuber MrBeast’s tree-planting campaign reached its goal of raising $20 million. Here’s the list of prominent people who have donated, including Elon Musk, Jeffree Star, and even the CEO of YouTube. Business Insider.

Mcintosh, I. (1997). Classical Sociological Theory: A Reader. NYU Press.

Newberry, L. (2021, September 18). Britney Spears hasn’t fully controlled her life for years. Fans insist it’s time to #FreeBritney. Los Angeles Times.

Webster, M. (n.d.). Definition of SOCIAL. Retrieved September 27, 2021, from



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