Latent Force, Legitimate Power, Authority, Traditional Authority, Charismatic Authority, & Legal Authority
Weber identifies forms of power which he referred to as Latent Force, Legitimate Power, Authority, Traditional Authority, Charismatic Authority, and Legal Authority (Macionis, 2011). Weber’s focus however seems to be on the three primary types of authority: traditional, charismatic, and legal-rational authority. Traditional authority is considered a function of tradition and is passed via heredity such as family ruling classes. This form of power does not change.
Traditional authority is a system in which authority has always existed. This is beneficial for those in power because it is inherited and does not have to be earned. This type of power can be witnessed amongst those born into a wealthy family. These people are automatically cast into a higher socio-economic group and are given power automatically.
Charismatic authority is found in a leader who is able to inspire individuals with their vision. Business leaders and cult leaders can be said to have charismatic authority. This form of authority is linked heavily with social movements.
Legal authority is empowered by laws or the belief in law. Legal authority is derived from an obedience to principles and ideas. Weber considered legal authority to be upheld in the concept of bureaucracy (political or economic). This form of authority is found everywhere today due to social dependence on bureaucratic systems.
John J. Macionis. Society: The Basics, Eleventh Edition,. Published by Prentice Hall. Copyright © 2011 by Pearson Education, Inc.
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