Action, order and culture : elements for a Weberian research program
A Weberian research program can be developed in critical relation with three major theoretical constructions : Luhmann’s systems theory, Habermas’ communicative action theory, and the rational choice theory of action based on the maximum utility calculation. The basis of such a program is the theory of rule-governed action, constructed around the key notions of meaning, understanding, reciprocity and double contingency, multidimensional analysis, and the idea of an actor who is able to speak and act. Considered this way, the concept of « rational action » cannot be reduced to mere utilitarian rationality – that would be to disregard the importance Weber attributed to value rationality – nor would it give priority to an approach in terms of communication and cognition. Analysis of social relations in their differentiated and coordinated forms would necessarily take into account processes of disparity and struggle. Lastly, social action cannot be understood if it is not related to the human actor’s ability to position himself in relation to the world and confer meaning on it ; i.e., to be a « Kulturmensch ».