What is an Ideal Type?

Study Max Weber's abstract model

The ideal type is an abstract model created by Max Weber that, when used as a standard of comparison, enables us to see aspects of the real world in a clearer, more systematic way. It is a constructed ideal used to approximate reality by selecting and accentuating certain elements. Weber used it as an analytic tool for his historical studies. Problems in using the ideal type include its tendency to focus attention on extreme, or polar, phenomena while overlooking the connections between them, and the difficulty of showing how the types and their elements fit into a conception of a total social system.

The ideal choice is useful for comparing social and economic phenomena. It is also known as the pure type. 

mla apa chicago
Your Citation
Crossman, Ashley. "What is an Ideal Type?" ThoughtCo, Mar. 31, 2017, thoughtco.com/ideal-type-definition-3026354. Crossman, Ashley. (2017, March 31). What is an Ideal Type? Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/ideal-type-definition-3026354 Crossman, Ashley. "What is an Ideal Type?" ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/ideal-type-definition-3026354 (accessed January 19, 2018).