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Ideal Type

Ideal types are conceptualization or mental construct composed of a configuration of characteristic elements of a class of phenomena used in social analysis. The elements abstracted are based on observations of concrete instances of the phenomena under study but the resultant construct is not designed to correspond exactly to any single empirical observation. The ideal type was developed as an important methodological technique by Max Weber in conjunction with his method of verstehen.It is strategy used to describe, compare and test hypothesis relating to empirical reality. Economic man, marginal man, sect, church, Gemeinschaft and Gesellschaft are examples of ideal types. Ideal types are constantly examined and refined.

They are not to be regarded as true pictures but as tentative models. It is a theoretically postulated pure form of social action a yardstick to ascertain the similarities and deviations in the actual course of social conduct. They help in comparative analysis and establishing causal relations.