The Types of Legitimate Domination
By Max Weber
In The Types of Legitimate Domination, Weber claims there are three ideal-types of basis for legitimate authority: rational/legal, traditional, and charismatic. Rational/legal is legal authority that comes from rules such as police officers, senators, etc. Traditional is authority that comes from traditions and the belief in the sanctity of “the way it has been done before” such as priests, queens, etc. The final type of power is charismatic which is power that is based on the exceptional character of an individual such as Martin Luther King Jr., actors, etc. Throughout this article, Weber tries to establish what “dominance” is and what the “basis of legitimacy” is. He defines dominance as the probability commands will be obeyed. Weber argues that domination requires there to be a social structure. He continues to say that while there are many reasons why people obey (custom, pay, ideals, etc.), everything about the social organization of domination depends on a “basis of legitimacy”. An example of a basis of legitimacy is what Weber defines as usage, when people develop uniform types of conduct. Long establish usages become customs. From this idea of legitimate domination came the three ideal-types of legitimate authority.
One of the major strengths of Weber’s article is the defining of dominance as well as explaining the “basis of legitimacy”. Many people follow commands without understanding why they are doing so. The basis of legitimacy helps us understand why people follow commands in situations where it may not be obvious. For example, why do we follow the commands of our parents? We follow the commands of our parents because their authority comes from traditions. It is expected that we follow the command of our parents because “that is the way it always has been”. With the rational/legal basis of legitimacy, the reasons why we follow their commands is more obvious (rules and regulations). Classifying...
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