Rational-Legal Authority definition

Rational-legal authority is one of the pillars of authority that make up sociologist Max Weber’s tripartite classification of authority, alongside traditional authority and charismatic authority. Under the doctrine of rational-legal authority, authority is derived from rational societal constructs, legal legitimacy, compliance with established legal norms and the bureaucratic system.

Citizens and subjects in rational-legal systems accept authority because it is congruent with historical and established legal doctrines. Uprisings and discontent occur when citizens perceive Government action to be incompatible with established legal doctrines and the citizen-establishment relationship.

States that use the rational-legal system are also entitled to use the legitimate use of force to ensure compliance. Most modern states use the rational-legal system of authority.


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