January 10th, 2018
How Authority legitimizes power
The legitimacy of power could arise entirely from the authority of the power bearer. According to Weber (1947) three ideals of authority – traditional, national-legal, and charismatic exist (as cited in Kendall 2006, p. 383). Traditional authority refers to power legitimized by the existing customs within a society (Kendall 2006). Such customs include religious beliefs that exist in a particular culture. In such a way, the British Monarchy for instance enjoyed authority and power out of the presumption that God bestowed authority upon (Kendall 2006). A similar authority for instance is notable with the priests, pope, and other religious heads who lead various religions. As societies advance towards globalization, the traditional authority however at times is weakened as people that are not subject to the customs of a particular place get integrated into the society (Metcalfe & Rees 2010). Manifestations of traditional authority however still exist in gender, race and class relations for instance with patriarchy associations that regard men superior to women (Kendall 2006; Metcalfe & Rees 2010).
Power could also be legitimized through a leader’s charisma. In such charismatic authority, an individuals exceptional characteristics, experiences, and demonstration of competence could spur obedience from the followers (Kendall 2006). A politician may for instance acquire respect and followership due to his exceptional qualities and experiences. In running for office, candidates may for instance use such experiences to woo voters to their side. Since charismatic authority is based on individuals, it is temporal in nature because these individuals could change their ideals thus affecting their appeal (Kendall 2006). For instance, an athlete who commands authority out of his prowess in the discipline could lose such authority when he is found to have been involved in doping cases. Charismatic authority also could arise out of administrative structure hence may become routinized when it paves way to bureaucracy entrenched either via rational or traditional authority (Kendall 2006).
Thirdly, power may derive legitimacy from rational-legal authority. This involves legitimization by rules and regulation governing a society (Kendall 2006). Such rational authority is structured on an organizational approach where there exist hierarchies, division of labor, formal rules and impersonality (Kendall 2006). The authority accorded to the presidency for instance is irrespective of the holder of the office. However, since this type of authority also derives from procedures, an office holder must ascend to the office through the rightful procedures for one to have the right to act in such authority (Kendall 2006; Beetham 2009; Finnemore 2009). When procedures are not followed then illegitimacy occurs as exemplified by the usurpation of powers by individuals who come to power through a coup (Beetham 2009). Secondly, the legitimacy of such authority only applies to the extent that rules that set it up are justifiable with respect to the socially acceptable beliefs about where such authority should arise from (Beetham 2009). For authority in this manner to be legitimate, subjects to the authority must expressly confirm the positions of authority and other legitimate authorities must recognize such positions (Beetham 2009; Finnemore 2009). Go to conclusion here.