SOCY 151 - Lecture 18 - Weber on Traditional Authority

Lecture 18 - Weber on Traditional Authority


We return to Weber's idea of domination, Herrschaft. Herrschaft has been translated into English as "authority" and as "domination." The translation into domination highlights the elements of power and legitimacy that are co-mingled in the concept as well as the importance of the suggestion of the asymmetrical power relationship within the concept of domination. We turn to the first way leaders legitimate their authority or domination: tradition. The primary forms of traditional rule are patrimonialism and patriachialism. For Weber, the chief difference between these forms of rule is that the patriarch rules without a staff and the patrimonial leader requires a staff that obeys his authority by virtue of personal loyalty and tradition. We end with the primary tension between traditional authority and capitalism: traditional authority systems are not motivated by profit but by satisfaction of needs.


Weber, Economy and Society, Chapter 3, pp. 226-241; 255-266

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