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Types of authority

The protesters in Tunisia and the civil rights protesters of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s day had influence apart from their position in a government. Their influence came, in part, from their ability to advocate for what many people held as important values. Government leaders might have this kind of influence as well, but they also have the advantage of wielding power associated with their position in the government. As this example indicates, there is more than one type of authority in a community.

Authority refers to accepted power—that is, power that people agree to follow. People listen to authority figures because they feel that these individuals are worthy of respect. Generally speaking, people perceive the objectives and demands of an authority figure as reasonable and beneficial, or true.

A citizen’s interaction with a police officer is a good example of how people react to authority in everyday life. For instance, a person who sees the flashing red and blue lights of a police car in his rearview mirror usually pulls to the side of the road without hesitation. Such a driver most likely assumes that the police officer behind him serves as a legitimate source of authority and has the right to pull him over. As part of her official duties, the police officer then has the power to issue a speeding ticket if the driver was driving too fast. If the same officer, however, were to command the driver to follow her home and mow her lawn, the driver would likely protest that the officer does not have the authority to make such a request.

Not all authority figures are police officers, elected officials or government authorities. Besides formal offices, authority can arise from tradition and personal qualities. Economist and sociologist Max Weber realized this when he examined individual action as it relates to authority, as well as large-scale structures of authority and how they relate to a society’s economy. Based on this work, Weber developed a classification system for authority. His three types of authority are traditional authority, charismatic authority and legal-rational authority (Weber 1922).

Max Weber identified and explained three distinct types of authority:
Weber’s three types of authority
Traditional Charismatic Legal-Rational
Source of Power Legitimized by long-standing custom Based on a leader’s personal qualities Authority resides in the office, not the person
Leadership Style Historic personality Dynamic personality Bureaucratic officials
Example Patriarchy (traditional positions of authority) Napoleon, Jesus Christ, Mother Teresa, Martin Luther King, Jr. U.S. presidency and Congress
Modern British Parliament

Traditional authority

According to Weber, the power of traditional authority    is accepted because that has traditionally been the case; its legitimacy exists because it has been accepted for a long time. Britain’s Queen Elizabeth, for instance, occupies a position that she inherited based on the traditional rules of succession for the monarchy. People adhere to traditional authority because they are invested in the past and feel obligated to perpetuate it. In this type of authority, a ruler typically has no real force to carry out his will or maintain his position but depends primarily on a group’s respect.

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.
Victor
well answer
Abid
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Sihab
sociology is intrecation between two persons or group which perform some rules
Abid
sociology means socio
Abid
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.
Abid
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Chakra
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Abid
Importance of the study of culture and society
Hafsa Reply
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Abid
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.
Sourabh
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.
Sourabh
sociology itself emerged when there was a technological change (the industrial revolution) and the society with its contemporary culture faced numerous challenges
Sourabh
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Abid
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Poudel
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Rahul
what is sociology ? anyone
Abid
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Noora
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Rahul
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Abid
study of society
Noora
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Abid
In modern definition of sociology is" The systematic study of human behaviour ,social interaction,social institution and society is called sociology."
Yashzada
how country is best in education
Limbadiya Reply
any body can help me
Raja Reply
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.
Renae
a political system in which a rich a rich and powerful country control other countries which are not powerful and rich as itself
Manoj
act of assisting or making easier the progress or improvement of somthing is referd to.. Brainstormig mobilization priorittization facilitaion answer needed
Sayed
can sociology study farming and in what way?
John Reply
yes,
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how?
John
how i did not understand
Manoj
I would like to see my chapter test answer results and a better list review at the end of the chapter for the vocabulary
Tiffany Reply
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 ?
Sourabh
how is social status spatially and socially specific
John Reply
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.
Sourabh
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
Amoo
reasons for the population growth since 18th century
Lucy Reply
influential model for chlid
Mr Reply
features of social control agent
Lucy Reply
Social control agents such as religion, family, relatives, castes control the people of the society… helpless in preventing them from doing bad deeds.
Ritu
Mentally and physically also control both ways
Ritu
And no human being against social control can live in society
Ritu
What about subcultures? perpetrators always exist in almost every society
Nyasha
what policy values racial, ethnic, national, and linguistic backgrounds
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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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