Definition of Rational-legal Authority
(noun) A type of power legitimized by laws, rules, norms, and procedures
Example of Rational-legal Authority
Rational-legal Authority Pronunciation
Syllabification: ra·tion·al le·gal au·thor·i·ty
- American English – /rAsh-uhn-l-lEEgUHl uh-thOR-uh-tee/
- British English – /rAsh-uh-nuhl-lEEgUHl aw-thOr-i-tee/
International Phonetic Alphabet
- American English – /ˈræʃənəl-ˈligəl əˈθɔrəti/
- British English – /ˈræʃənl-ˈliːgəl ɔːˈθɒrɪti/
- Plural: rational-legal authorities
- Rational-legal authority is legitimate because laws, rules, norms, and procedures are respected and obeyed because they are laws, rules, norms, and procedures. Rational-legal authority is reifying and rarely challenged. People obey rational-legal authority because of law, instead of belief (charisma) or tradition.
- Rational-legal authority is impersonal and typically associated with complex, modern societies that are governed by rules and organized around bureaucracy, which Weber contended are the most efficient large-scale administrative structure. Since charismatic and traditional administrations are typically based on the whims of their leaders, rational-legal administrations should be superior. Thus, it is possible for leaders in a rational-legal system to be limited by bureaucracies, unlike in traditional or charismatic systems.
- Weber contended that rational-legal authority is replacing traditional authority.
- A type of authority.
- Variant spelling: rational legal authority
- Also called:
- bureaucratic authority
- legal authority
- legal domination
- legal-rational authority
- rational authority
- rational domination
- rational legitimacy
- Crime and Law Resources – Books, Journals, and Helpful Links
- Politics and Policy Resources – Books, Journals, and Helpful Links
- Word origin of “rational” and “legal” and “authority” – Online Etymology Dictionary: etymonline.com
Abercrombie, Nicholas, Stephen Hill, and Bryan Turner. 2006. The Penguin Dictionary of Sociology. 5th ed. London: Penguin.
Andersen, Margaret L., and Howard Francis Taylor. 2011. Sociology: The Essentials. 6th ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.
Brinkerhoff, David, Lynn White, Suzanne Ortega, and Rose Weitz. 2011. Essentials of Sociology. 8th ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.
Ferrante, Joan. 2011a. Seeing Sociology: An Introduction. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.
Ferrante, Joan. 2011b. Sociology: A Global Perspective. 7th ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.
Ferris, Kerry, and Jill Stein. 2010. The Real World: An Introduction to Sociology. 2nd ed. New York: Norton.
Giddens, Anthony, and Philip W. Sutton. 2014. Essential Concepts in Sociology. Cambridge: Polity Press.
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.
Henslin, James M. 2012. Sociology: A Down-to-Earth Approach. 10th ed. Boston: Allyn & Bacon.
Hughes, Michael, and Carolyn J. Kroehler. 2011. Sociology: The Core. 10th ed. New York: McGraw-Hill.
Kendall, Diana. 2011. Sociology in Our Times. 8th ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.
Kimmel, Michael S., and Amy Aronson. 2012. Sociology Now. Boston: Allyn & Bacon.
Kornblum, William. 2008. Sociology in a Changing World. 8th ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.
Macionis, John. 2012. Sociology. 14th ed. Boston: Pearson.
Macionis, John, and Kenneth Plummer. 2012. Sociology: A Global Introduction. 4th ed. Harlow, England: Pearson Education.
Oxford University Press. (N.d.) Oxford Dictionaries. (https://www.oxforddictionaries.com/).
Ravelli, Bruce, and Michelle Webber. 2016. Exploring Sociology: A Canadian Perspective. 3rd ed. Toronto: Pearson.
Schaefer, Richard. 2013. Sociology: A Brief Introduction. 10th ed. New York: McGraw-Hill.
Shepard, Jon M. 2010. Sociology. 11th ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.
Shepard, Jon M., and Robert W. Greene. 2003. Sociology and You. New York: Glencoe.
Stewart, Paul, and Johan Zaaiman, eds. 2015. Sociology: A Concise South African Introduction. Cape Town: Juta.
Thompson, William E., and Joseph V. Hickey. 2012. Society in Focus: An Introduction to Sociology. 7th ed. Boston: Allyn & Bacon.
Tischler, Henry L. 2011. Introduction to Sociology. 10th ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.
Wikipedia contributors. (N.d.) Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation. (https://en.wikipedia.org/).
ASA – American Sociological Association (5th edition)
Bell, Kenton, ed. 2013. “rational-legal authority.” In Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Retrieved October 21, 2021 (https://sociologydictionary.org/rational-legal-authority/).
APA – American Psychological Association (6th edition)
rational-legal authority. (2013). In K. Bell (Ed.), Open education sociology dictionary. Retrieved from https://sociologydictionary.org/rational-legal-authority/
Chicago/Turabian: Author-Date – Chicago Manual of Style (16th edition)
Bell, Kenton, ed. 2013. “rational-legal authority.” In Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Accessed October 21, 2021. https://sociologydictionary.org/rational-legal-authority/.
MLA – Modern Language Association (7th edition)
“rational-legal authority.” Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Ed. Kenton Bell. 2013. Web. 21 Oct. 2021. <https://sociologydictionary.org/rational-legal-authority/>.