Introducing Western Sociologists

Introducing Western Sociologists


Differentiate between rational, legal and traditional authority.

Differentiate between Rational, Legal and Traditional Authority.

1. Max Weber made a distinction between Rational, Traditional and Legal authority.

2. Max Weber argues that people obey authority when they view it as legitimate. Claims to legitimacy may be based on

(i) Rational grounds rooted in laws,

(ii) Traditional grounds, and

(iii) Legal grounds.

(i) Rational authority is based on rational -legitimacy. It accepts the right of those who exercise authority under legally.

(ii) Traditional authority depends on traditional legitimacy. It is based on habitual way of thinking.

(iii) Legal authority is based on rules or legals acts of an administrative type are recorded in writing. The officials in a bureaucratic type of administration must act impersonally and according to rules which define their specific spheres of competence.

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