Blog #3: Weber II: Bureaucracy and Politics

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How does Weber define legitimacy? What are three pure types of legitimate domination? What is the relationship between Weber's definition of legitimate order, his description of the basis of legitimacy in modern societies and his theory rising power of bureaucracy?

As you know Max Weber has defined legitimacy on his own term. In the beginning of chapter 19 Max rambles on about legitimacy. Max begins defining legitimacy as a way of domination. Domination in Max's eyes is defined as "the probability that certain specific commands will be obeyed by a given group of persons"(p. 256). So Max means that a certain person or persons who has gained or has control over other people's will, has the ability to lead other people. I agree with Max on domination, because America is like that. Here in our country companies have to gain the people's trust. Take a look at Burger King or WalMart Corporation. Those companies have gained the citizens trust for many years. Since citizens trust these companies they go eat out at Burger King or shop at WalMart. People do not obey others just because they are obeying. All persons who obey others have a reason or reasons to. It could be to achieve something that people are trying to achieve. It could be even due to the fact that people have no choice but to do what that person or persons want. Going back to my example of Burger King or WalMart, people who go to Burger King restaurants or WalMart stores have "an interest"(p. 256) for obeying the rules and policies of those businesses. Those interests could be to be able to taste the delicious Whopper sandwich, fries, and drink, or to be able to see the items being sold. Basically in simple terms people obey the ones in charge due to their "material interests and calculations of advantages"(p. 256). All this collection of thoughts lead to Max's perception of legitimacy. Legitimacy has always been tried to be improved upon by the sponsors to improve public relations of course, and also to improve their reputation. We see examples of this in our everyday lives. Governments are constantly looking for ways to make the lives of citizens' lives better.

According to Max Weber there are three types which legitimacy is based on. One type of legitimacy is rational grounds. The domination of legitimacy on rational grounds is derived from trusting the legality of the rules and policies set up by the commanding authorities. Another type of legitimacy is traditional grounds. The domination of legitimacy on traditional grounds is derived from putting trust in the practices from those who exercise authority under the authority. The last type of legitimacy is charismatic grounds. The domination of legitimacy on charismatic grounds is derived from putting trust in an individual. If I try to answer the last part of the question entirely it would take too long. So I am going to summarize Max's viewpoint. In summary Max argues that all three conditions of legitimate domination must be met in order for society to operate in a well manner. If bureaucracies meet those three conditions then their power will gradually increase. Not only their power but their legitimacy will be looked upon in a better light too.

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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Ker Thao published on February 19, 2012 12:45 PM.

Weber III: Religion and Rationality - Reading Questions was the previous entry in this blog.

Alex Pawlowicz: Bureaucracy, Authority, and Status (second blog entry) is the next entry in this blog.

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