Blog #5: Weber and his 3 types of authorties

Max Weber had three different types of authority. The three are rational, traditional, and charismatic. Rational is “resting on a belief in the legality of enacted rules and the right of those elevated to authority under such rules to issue commands.” The traditional authority is “ resting on an established belief in the sanctity of immemorial traditions and the legitimacy of those exercising authority under them.” Lastly charismatic is “resting on devotion to the exceptional sanctity, heroism or exemplary character of an individual person, and of the normative patterns or order revealed or ordained by him.” I think that these three types of authority are how societies run. They use all three of these authorities because there are three. Some people believe in the rational which is an authority that is put into place to have order and structure, with rules and laws in which people need to follow because they are put into place for the protection of all the people. Then with traditional authority, I see this more of a religious authority. I think that there is an authority in which people will focus on their traditions and there belief systems and that will allow them to live a good life. Then there is charismatic authority in which individual people stand up to traditional and rational authority and fight for a cause that is important to society. An example of a charismatic person to me would be Martin Luther King. He stood up for what he believed in which were rights for African American men and women and it was at a time where the rational authority was not doing anything to help the cause and the traditional authority was not helping the cause as well. During this time the rational and traditional authorities seemed to be run by white people and so that greatly impacted the situation. So in this case the African American people needed someone to stand up, for their rights and speak on behalf of their best interest. So rational, traditional, and charismatic authority do very much apply in today’s society.


2 responses to “Blog #5: Weber and his 3 types of authorties

  1. You offer a key insight with respect to Weber’s ideal types of authority: that each type is possible in contemporary society. In other words, authority today can be justified on the basis of tradition, rationality/legality, and the charisma of a leader. A religiously-identified authority could rule on the basis of any of these legitimating principles, not only tradition (i.e., even religious organizations can be organized on the basis of rational-legal principles and MLK was a religiously-identified charismatic authority). As for civil rights, Weber would say that it took a charismatic authority to mount a struggle to achieve them. Today, civil rights and antidiscrimination laws are part of both ‘rational-legal-‘ and ‘traditional’-type governments.

  2. It is very interesting to observe how governments utilize all these three authorities to increase power. As I read this blog post I thought of many countries around the wolrd that have followed a tradition in terms of governing a country. I personally believe that by doing so they lack autonomy. They may feel insecure or even scared to change how the government is ruling because they fear to lose control over the people. An example of this would be Cuba. Fidel Castro was a dictator for so many years, and even though Cuba was described by many as a terrible place filled with poverty, Castro did not want to lose his power, his control, his dignity. Sometimes individuals fear a change, and this is why I believe that every government follows some sort of tradiiton. With the presidential debates we clearly saw that both candidiates agreed on a lot of things, and I believe that it is because they are convinced that power must always remain in the Unites States of America. If power is met then it will always remain a TRADITION.

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