Many scholars have questioned the thoroughness of Max Weber’s typology of authority. The key problem has been that some empirical cases, such as doctors and Soviet leaders, cannot be accounted for by combining Weber’s three pure types of authority. I propose a new solution to this problem by reconstructing Weber’s conceptualization of authority – stressing the doxic (Bourdieu) backup of authority – and modifying his typology – adding a “substantive-rational” type. Unlike previous attempts, this solution meets three important criteria: (1) thoroughly accounting for a variety of anomalous cases; (2) overcoming the limitations of the theory of action by acknowledging the developments of contemporary social theory; and (3) still serving Weber’s ambitious purposes, such as understanding broad rationalization processes and the stabilization of charisma. The usefulness of the typology is illustrated with various empirical cases that represent transformations of charisma in a substantive-rational direction or combinations of formal-rational and substantive-rational grounds for legitimacy.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Sociology and Political Science