Max Weber Ideal Type
According to Weber, social laws could be generalized in the same way as the physical laws. He tried to develop a scientific method for the development of sociological studies. The law of causality applies to social events as to physical order of things and once we discover definite causes of social events, it is easy to evolve definite social laws. For this purpose Max Weber has evolved the concept of “ideal-types are neither experimental mathematical models nor theories for Max Weber the ideal type contains both conceptual and observational materials. In Max Weber’s classification of action, the ideal type was purely rational action. Weber wanted to develop the science of sociology. For this purpose he formulated the concept of ideal type. According to him, the science of sociology could be developed on the basis of this concept of “ideal-type”.
So, sociology is concerned with social action and social behavior. Every social action has an ideal. The ideal-type of social action is in our mind. For example, we say that a particular man is materialist. The term materialist is an ideal. Thus every man has in his mind certain ideas about perfect social action or behavior and this ideal type is subjective, because it is in the mind of man. Thus the idea of a person about an action is called ideal type.
Characteristics of Max Weber ideal Types
Following are the three characteristics of ideal types
Ideal types are Subjective
The ideal types are subjective in character, social laws are also subjective but the physical events are objective. Social laws pertain to human actions and behavior and human behavior is characterized by subjective motive, intention and goal. Weber Wanted to make sociology fully objective but it is impossible. But with the help of concepts like ideal types it may be possible to achieve the objectivity.
Ideal Types are Emotional
Ideal types are abstract and not concrete in nature. As laws of physics are abstract and cannot be perceived. Similarly the concepts like “economic man” or “religious man” are also abstract.
Ideal Types are Changeable
Max Weber ideal types are purely human constructions. Therefore they are subjected to consideration of time and place. There are affected by modern thinking. So, the ideal types are subjected to modification in response to changes in social realities.