meaning

meaning, meaningful action
It would be difficult to imagine any sociological study which did not, implicitly or explicitly, look at how people think about the social world and social relationships-in other words at the meanings that the social has for individuals and groups. Indeed, some schools of thought argue that meaning is the only object for sociology , as against those which look for causal explanations by reference to, for example, social structures .
The concept of meaningful action is most closely associated with Max Weber , who distinguishes it from behaviour; that is, from merely physical movement to which the actor does not attach a meaning (for example blinking). Meaningful social action, by contrast, is action directed towards others and to which we can attach a subjective meaning. In this sense, praying alone in a church is meaningful action, as is participating in a church service. Most later theorists accept that these distinctions cannot easily be maintained and take the view that attaching a meaning to something (‘mere behaviour’) is itself an action; and, moreover, a social action because it draws on a socially constructed and accepted language. See also action theory ; interpretation.

Dictionary of sociology. 2013.

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  • Meaning — may refer to: Meaning (linguistics), meaning which is communicated through the use of language Meaning (non linguistic), extra linguistic meaning (intentional communication without the use of language), and natural meaning, where no intentions… …   Wikipedia

  • meaning — meaning, sense, acceptation, signification, significance, import are comparable when they denote the idea which something (as a word, a passage, a facial expression, an action, or a situation) conveys to the mind or is intended to convey to the… …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • Meaning — Mean ing, n. 1. That which is meant or intended; intent; purpose; aim; object; as, a mischievous meaning was apparent. [1913 Webster] If there be any good meaning towards you. Shak. [1913 Webster] 2. That which is signified, whether by act… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • meaning — I noun acceptation, connotation, content, definition, denotation, drift, explanation, idea, import, interpretation, purport, semantics, semasiology, sense, sententia, significance, significatio, signification, substance, tenor, text, vis… …   Law dictionary

  • meaning — [mē′niŋ] n. 1. what is meant; what is intended to be, or in fact is, signified, indicated, referred to, or understood; signification, purport, import, sense, or significance [the meaning of a word] 2. Archaic intention; purpose adj. 1. that has… …   English World dictionary

  • meaning — [n1] message, signification acceptation, allusion, bearing, bottom line*, connotation, content, context, definition, denotation, drift, effect, essence, explanation, force, gist, heart*, hint, implication, import, interpretation, intimation, meat …   New thesaurus

  • meaning — (n.) sense, import, intent, c.1300, from MEAN (Cf. mean) (v.) …   Etymology dictionary

  • meaning — ► NOUN 1) what is meant by a word, idea, or action. 2) worthwhile quality; purpose. ► ADJECTIVE ▪ expressive …   English terms dictionary

  • meaning — noun 1 what sth means ADJECTIVE ▪ clear, exact, precise ▪ The context makes the meaning clear. ▪ What is the exact meaning of this phrase? ▪ intended …   Collocations dictionary

  • Meaning — (Roget s Thesaurus) >Idea to be conveyed. >Thing signified. < N PARAG:Meaning >N GRP: N 1 Sgm: N 1 meaning meaning Sgm: N 1 signification signification significance Sgm: N 1 sense sense expression Sgm: N 1 import import …   English dictionary for students

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