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A more modern form of traditional authority is patrimonialism    , which is traditional domination facilitated by an administration and military that are purely personal instruments of the master (Eisenberg 1998). In this form of authority, all officials are personal favorites appointed by the ruler. These officials have no rights, and their privileges can be increased or withdrawn based on the caprices of the leader. The political organization of ancient Egypt typified such a system: when the royal household decreed that a pyramid be built, every Egyptian was forced to work toward its construction.

Traditional authority can be intertwined with race, class, and gender. In most societies, for instance, men are more likely to be privileged than women and thus are more likely to hold roles of authority. Similarly, members of dominant racial groups or upper-class families also win respect more readily. In the United States, the Kennedy family, which has produced many prominent politicians, exemplifies this model.

Charismatic authority

Followers accept the power of charismatic authority    because they are drawn to the leader’s personal qualities. The appeal of a charismatic leader can be extraordinary, and can inspire followers to make unusual sacrifices or to persevere in the midst of great hardship and persecution. Charismatic leaders usually emerge in times of crisis and offer innovative or radical solutions. They may even offer a vision of a new world order. Hitler’s rise to power in the postwar economic depression of Germany is an example.

Charismatic leaders tend to hold power for short durations, and according to Weber, they are just as likely to be tyrannical as they are heroic. Diverse male leaders such as Hitler, Napoleon, Jesus Christ, César Chávez, Malcolm X, and Winston Churchill are all considered charismatic leaders. Because so few women have held dynamic positions of leadership throughout history, the list of charismatic female leaders is comparatively short. Many historians consider figures such as Joan of Arc, Margaret Thatcher, and Mother Teresa to be charismatic leaders.

According to Weber, power made legitimate by laws, written rules, and regulations is termed rational-legal authority    . In this type of authority, power is vested in a particular rationale, system, or ideology and not necessarily in the person who implements the specifics of that doctrine. A nation that follows a constitution applies this type of authority. On a smaller scale, you might encounter rational-legal authority in the workplace via the standards set forth in the employee handbook, which provides a different type of authority than that of your boss.

Of course, ideals are seldom replicated in the real world. Few governments or leaders can be neatly categorized. Some leaders, like Mohandas Gandhi for instance, can be considered charismatic and legal-rational authority figures. Similarly, a leader or government can start out exemplifying one type of authority and gradually evolve or change into another type.

Summary

Sociologists examine government and politics in terms of their impact on individuals and larger social systems. Power is an entity or individual’s ability to control or direct others, while authority is influence that is predicated on perceived legitimacy. Max Weber studied power and authority, differentiating between the two concepts and formulating a system for classifying types of authority.

Short answer

Explain why leaders as divergent as Hitler and Jesus Christ are both categorized as charismatic authorities.

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Why do people accept traditional authority figures even though these types of leaders have limited means of enforcing their power?

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Charismatic leaders are among the most fascinating figures in history. Select a charismatic leader about whom you wish to learn more and conduct online research to find out about this individual. Then write a paragraph describing the personal qualities that led to this person’s influence, considering the society in which he or she emerged.

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Further research

Want to learn more about sociologists at work in the real world? Read this blog posting to learn more about the roles sociology scholars played in the midst of the Arab Spring uprising: (External Link)

References

Acton, Lord. 2010 [1887]. Essays on Freedom and Power. Auburn, AL: Ludwig von Mises Institute.

Catrer, Chelsea, and Fantz, Ashley. 2014. “ISIS Video Shows Beheading of American Journalist Steven Sotloft.” CNN, September 9. Retrieved October 5, 2014 ( (External Link) )

Eisenberg, Andrew. 1998. “Weberian Patrimonialism and Imperial Chinese History.” Theory and Society 27(1):83–102.

Hosenball, Mark, and Westall, Slyvia. 2014. “Islamic State Video Shows Second British Hostage Beheaded.” Reuters, October 4. Retrieved October 5, 2014 ( (External Link) )

NPR. 2014. “Debate: Does U.S. Military Intervention in the Middle East help or Hurt?” October 7. Retrieved October 7, 2014 ( (External Link) )

Mullen, Jethro. 2014. “U.S.-led airstrikes on ISIS in Syria: What you need to know.” CNN, September 24. Retrieved October 5, 2014 ( (External Link) )

Mullen, Jethro (2014). “U.S.-led airstrikes on ISIS in Syria: Who's in, who's not”. CNN, October 2, 2014. Retrieved October 5, 2014 ( (External Link) )

Pollock, John. 2011. “How Egyptian and Tunisian Youth Hijacked the Arab Spring.” Technology Review , September/October. Retrieved January 23, 2012 ( (External Link) ).

Weber, Max. 1978 [1922]. Economy and Society: An Outline of Interpretive Sociology . Berkeley: University of California Press.

Weber, Max. 1947 [1922]. The Theory of Social and Economic Organization . Translated by A. M. Henderson and T. Parsons. New York: Oxford University Press.

Questions & Answers

what's sociology?
Amos Reply
Sociology is a social science that studies the society, social institutions and all what pertains the making of a society.
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sociology is intrecation between two persons or group which perform some rules
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Sociology is the study of human socialrelationships and institutions. ... At the personal level, sociology investigates thesocial causes and consequences of such things as romantic love, racial and gender identity, family conflict, deviant behavior, aging, and religious faith.
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Importance of the study of culture and society
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democratic principles and national values have to be grounded in cultural understanding of the society, which can enhance the developmental decisions and harmonious relationship with social groups.
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technology and culture have an intimate exchange of acceptance and rejection. the possible emergence of bad elements when there is an introduction of new technology in a relatively stagnant society can be recognised through a clear understanding of cultural values.
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sociology itself emerged when there was a technological change (the industrial revolution) and the society with its contemporary culture faced numerous challenges
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In modern definition of sociology is" The systematic study of human behaviour ,social interaction,social institution and society is called sociology."
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what are the values espoused by religion
Karen Reply
Altruism is an often neglected value. Especially, when it takes the form of Altruistic donation in form of cash or material. Social Control is exercised within a religious community through the tenets or religious texts. Max Weber also analysed the relation between Protestant ethic and Capitalism
Sourabh
what is imperialism
ogie Reply
a country ruled by royalty.?
Renae
a policy of extending a country's power and influence through diplomacy or military force.
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a political system in which a rich a rich and powerful country control other countries which are not powerful and rich as itself
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act of assisting or making easier the progress or improvement of somthing is referd to.. Brainstormig mobilization priorittization facilitaion answer needed
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I would like to see my chapter test answer results and a better list review at the end of the chapter for the vocabulary
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what are five implications of sociology to an extension worker
John Reply
Gender roles in a community - messages by male workers in Indian rural areas are not accepted as the same by female workers. And there is a minority of female extension workers Weberian 'Charismatic' leader needed, who can work within administrative and political framework of state.
Sourabh
Act as change agents, Hence, deep connection with the social group is needed. This entails an 'interpretative' understanding of the community and an 'objective' analysis through positivist approach as to the results of state policies with the social behaviour prevalent in the area since years.
Sourabh
What policies does US need in countering structural racism ?
Sourabh Reply
what is a sociological perspective ? How to analyse a issue from sociological angles ? what should be addressed in sociological understanding ?
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Spatially, because of unequal distribution of natural resources which promotes industrial growth in few areas, leading to better economic situation. Income and wealth derived from this improvement in economic situation leads to higher social status.
Sourabh
Socially specific because usually the control over the resources like land for example are a result of cultural and social history. In India, certain castes had more land under control, when Industrialization and came knocking, their situation improved specifically because of their social standing.
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spatially in terms of higher distribution of natural resources in some areas which brings about growth and development to that particular environment and leads to accumulation of wealth and better living standard for individuals in such environment, which I n turn determines the social activities
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reasons for the population growth since 18th century
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features of social control agent
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Social control agents such as religion, family, relatives, castes control the people of the society… helpless in preventing them from doing bad deeds.
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Mentally and physically also control both ways
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And no human being against social control can live in society
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What about subcultures? perpetrators always exist in almost every society
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Source:  OpenStax, Introduction to sociology 2e. OpenStax CNX. Jan 20, 2016 Download for free at http://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11762/1.6
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