meaningful sociologyany form of sociology premised on the assumption:
- that social actors above all inhabit a universe of social ‘meanings’;
- that SOCIAL ACTION is meaningful action; and
- that social occurrences must be explained primarily as the outcome of actors’ ‘meanings’, i.e. the beliefs, motives, purposes, reasons, etc. that lead to ACTIONS. The term is commonly applied to WEBER'S ACTION THEORY, but can equally apply to related approaches such as SYMBOLIC INTERACTIONISM. See also MEANINGFUL UNDERSTANDING AND EXPLANATION, INTERPRETATIVE SOCIOLOGY, VERSTEHEN.
Collins Dictionary of Sociology, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2000