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Definition of Legitimation

(noun) The act or process of providing legitimacy to something.

Legitimation Pronunciation

Pronunciation Usage Guide

Syllabification: le·git·i·ma·tion

Audio Pronunciation

– American English
– British English

Phonetic Spelling

  • American English – /li-jit-uh-mAY-shuhn/
  • British English – /li-jit-i-mAY-shuhn/

International Phonetic Alphabet

  • American English – /ləˌdʒɪdəˈmeɪʃən/
  • British English – /lᵻˌdʒɪtᵻˈmeɪʃn/

Usage Note

  • Plural: legitimations

Related Quotations

  • “[A]lthough true equality of opportunity is probably not possible, the myth of meritocracy in America is itself harmful because its legitimation of inequalities of power and privilege rests on claims that are demonstrably false” (McNamee and Miller 2013:19).
  • “Equally as important as the invidious barriers to opportunity that remain entrenched in our society are the legitimized, ostensibly meritocratic requirements built into the entire notion of bureaucratic credentialism. [Randall] Collins (1979), for example, has persuasively demonstrated how educational institutions have supported professionalization through the proliferation of programs, degrees, and certification schemes that have been used by government, business, and other organizations to increase for formal credential and licensure requirements for many positions. In effect, those already in positions of influence and status have quietly agreed to raise the minimum requirements for employment” (Hauhart 2016:265).

Related Video

Additional Information

Related Terms


Hauhart, Robert C. 2016. Seeking the American Dream: A Sociological Inquiry. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

McNamee, Stephen J., and Robert K. Miller, Jr. 2013. The Meritocracy Myth. 3rd ed. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield.

Works Consulted

Griffiths, Heather, Nathan Keirns, Eric Strayer, Susan Cody-Rydzewski, Gail Scaramuzzo, Tommy Sadler, Sally Vyain, Jeff Bry, Faye Jones. 2016. Introduction to Sociology 2e. Houston, TX: OpenStax.

Merriam-Webster. (N.d.) Merriam-Webster Dictionary. (http://www.merriam-webster.com/).

Oxford University Press. (N.d.) Oxford Dictionaries. (https://www.oxforddictionaries.com/).

Wikipedia contributors. (N.d.) Wiktionary, The Free Dictionary. Wikimedia Foundation. (http://en.wiktionary.org).

Cite the Definition of Legitimation

ASA – American Sociological Association (5th edition)

Bell, Kenton, ed. 2014. “legitimation.” In Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Retrieved May 24, 2024 (https://sociologydictionary.org/legitimation/).

APA – American Psychological Association (6th edition)

legitimation. (2014). In K. Bell (Ed.), Open education sociology dictionary. Retrieved from https://sociologydictionary.org/legitimation/

Chicago/Turabian: Author-Date – Chicago Manual of Style (16th edition)

Bell, Kenton, ed. 2014. “legitimation.” In Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Accessed May 24, 2024. https://sociologydictionary.org/legitimation/.

MLA – Modern Language Association (7th edition)

“legitimation.” Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Ed. Kenton Bell. 2014. Web. 24 May. 2024. <https://sociologydictionary.org/legitimation/>.