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Legitimacy Essay

  • Submitted by:
  • on April 2, 2014
  • Category: History
  • Length: 861 words

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Below is an essay on "Legitimacy" from Anti Essays, your source for research papers, essays, and term paper examples.

Legitimacy is defined in political science as accepting an authority or governing law. The term defines that a government governs, which without, a society will suffer collapse and anarchy. A typical example of legitimacy not being in place would be where regimes exist such as a dictatorship because a small group of believers make the governing body legitimate. In Imperial states, whereby ruling bodies are born into the ruling regime, any regime which may try to rule over the Imperial ruler will be rejected as unfit to rule.
Traditional authority is legitimated by the sanctity of tradition. The ability and right to rule is passed down, often through heredity. It does not change overtime, does not facilitate social change, tends to be irrational and inconsistent, and perpetuates the status quo. In fact, Weber states: “The creation of new law opposite traditional norms is deemed impossible in principle.” Traditional authority is typically embodied in feudalism or patrimonialism. In a purely patriarchal structure, “the servants are completely and personally dependent upon the lord”, while in an estate system (i.e. feudalism), “the servants are not personal servants of the lord but independent men” (Weber 1958, 4). But, in both cases the system of authority does not change or evolve.
Charismatic authority is found in a leader whose mission and vision inspire others. It is based upon the perceived extraordinary characteristics of an individual. Weber saw a charismatic leader as the head of a new social movement, and one instilled with divine or supernatural powers, such as a religious prophet. Weber seemed to favor charismatic authority, and spent a good deal of time discussing it. In a study of charisma and religion, Riesebrodt (1999) argues that Weber also thought charisma played a strong - if not integral - role in traditional authority systems. Thus, Weber’s favor for charismatic authority was particularly strong, especially in focusing on what happened to it with...

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