Definition of Order and Action

The term "order" in sociology refers to a certain collection of predetermined social institutions, values, norms, practices, interactions, and structures intended to uphold and maintain distinct socially established patterns of behavior and relationships (Appelrouth & Edles, 2008).

Social Order and Action

In actuality, order governs how society functions; without it, society would descend into a sea of social disorder and madness. To describe and explain social order, numerous ideas have been created. Parson's social theory defines "order" as a collection of social institutions founded on societal values that regulate the course of people's behavior (Appelrouth & Edles, 2008). The term "action" refers to human behavior to which the person associates with subjective meaning (Weber). Any action is subjective in nature as one’s behavior definitely affects other members of society. Nonetheless, individual’s action in society is determined and modified by the behavior of others (Appelrouth & Edles, 2008). Significantly, one’s behavior can have social consequences (positive or negative) due to which the social order is established.

Social Order and Decision Making

Social order and action affect the way individuals make decisions. Indeed, the number of choices members of society may have is limited by social order and behavior. For example, an individual may be willing to amass a lot of wealth through evil and illegal means such as corruption, deceit, and theft. However, due to the social order and action attached to the act, the choice is restricted.

The Fetishism of Commodities

Marx adopts the approach of material obsession to explain the fetishism of commodities concept in the capitalist society (Amariglio & Callari, 1993). Marx asserts that social relations in the capitalist society are disguised in value derived from goods and services (commodities). In the capitalist society, production commodities are much regarded and valued than the actual human labor that produces them (Amariglio & Callari, 1993). Marx wonders whether the commodities are intrinsically worthy or valuable because human labor is consumed to manufacture them. In fact, Marx criticizes the value and attention awarded to commodities at the expense of human labor.

The Alienation of Workers

Marx argues that if the element of human labor is hidden or treated secretly in the capitalist society, then the world can be mistakenly viewed as if production and marketing arrangements take place independent of human labor (Amariglio & Callari, 1993). In his description of the fetishism of commodities, Marx clearly shows how the workers are separated from the end product of their labor. In the capitalist society, workers are alienated from their labor and have no control over the products resulting from it. According to Marx, social relations only exist among commodities but not within the workers (Amariglio & Callari, 1993). In conclusion, Marx terms commodity as a "mysterious thing" because the element of human labor is not respected in the capitalist society. Moreover, in the capitalist society, the workers are deprived of their labor which is treated by producers as the lynch-pin social relation.

The Role of "Calling" and Outward Signs of Grace in the Development of Capitalism

According to Weber, religious beliefs such as the art of calling and grace particularly from Protestant Christians promoted the development of capitalism (Weber, 2002). Weber argues that development of capitalism in Northern Europe is attributed to the fact that Protestant ethics specifically those of Calvinist origin encouraged many people to work in the secular world (Weber, 2002). The Protestant ethics encouraged the people to establish their own businesses, participate in trade activities and amass wealth for investment. Weber argues that some religious teaching, for instance, equating money to time contained moral language which encouraged people to be capitalists (Weber, 2002). Asceticism in Protestants advocated for religious self-denial and presented to people a moral obligation to fulfill their worldly goals. Weber associates religious calling with Reformation and Protestant way of thinking. Fulfilling one’s worldly goals was regarded as the biggest moral obligation in the Protestant religion. According to Weber, Calvinism held on certain doctrines being irresistible and the predestination which viewed God’s will as sovereign. These teachings psychologically influenced religious followers to adopt capitalism.

The Impact of Capitalism on Religious Calling

Development of capitalism affected the religious calling and signs of grace. According to Weber, capitalism transformed the way of life for many people. Capitalism led to the evolution of division of labor and justification of profit-making businesses (Weber, 2002). People changed their attitude towards wealth and associated it with glorifying God.

Comparing and Contrasting Weber’s Types of Legitimate Domination

Weber draws a clear demarcation between power and domination. According to Weber, power involves the use of force by an individual to achieve their will, an element that lacks in domination (Weber, 1993). Domination is lawful when those under authority (subordinates) obey, accept, and regard denomination as suitable, tolerable, and worthy (Weber, 1993). All forms of legal authority are characterized by obedience, regularity, interest, and belief. There three types of legitimate domination are charismatic, traditional, and legal authorities (Weber, 1993). The three forms of legal domination show how dominant individuals (leaders) practice power over subordinates.

Traditional Authority

Traditional authority is grounded on cultural norms, religious beliefs, tradition, and values (Weber, 1993). The leader derives their power from traditional rights granted by culture. According to Weber, traditional authority existed in many societies since the evolution of mankind. The main merit of this form of legitimate domination is that it is easy to establish and run. Weaknesses of traditional authority include perpetuation of social inequality and barrier to the establishment of legal authority. Some cultural values are outdated and retrogressive; thus, little benefit is derived from them. Patriarchalism (rule by father, the senior member of house and master) and rule by elders are good examples of traditional authority.

Charismatic Legitimate Domination

Charismatic legitimate domination is based on dominant individual’s personality. In this case, the leader displays exceptional personal characters and skills, for instance, they may have eloquent speech. The followers regard their dominant individuals as having superhuman or supernatural powers (Weber, 1993). Charismatic leaders derive their power from factual acceptance and faithful commitment (Weber, 1993). The strength of this authority is that the followers accept the rule of charismatic leader without any challenges due to supernatural elements attached to them; however, this authority is short-lived. Examples of charismatic leaders are Martin Luther King Jr. and Mahatma Gandhi.

Legal Authority

Legal authority is based on established legal rules and regulations. The dominant individual derives their power from established legal system which encompasses the rule of law, legal code, and rights (Weber, 1993). The followers are ruled by laws and regulations. The advantage of this authority is that law and order are maintained and subordinates have right to challenge the legality of the system. Legal authority requires bureaucracy, an act that presents a barrier in addressing subordinates challenges. A good example of legal authority is administration rule in modern societies.


Appelrouth, S., & Edles, L. D. (2008). Classical and contemporary sociological theory: Text and readings. Pine Forge Press.

Amariglio, J., & Callari, A. (1993). Marxian value theory and the problem of the subject: The role of commodity fetishism. Fetishism as cultural discourse, 186-216.

Weber, M. (2002). The Protestant ethic and the” spirit” of capitalism and other writings. Penguin.

Weber, M. (1993). The types of legitimate domination.

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