20. Weber on Legal-Rational Authority

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Foundations of Modern Social Thought (SOCY 151)

The purest form—the ideal type—of Weber's legal-rational type of authority is bureaucracy. Legal-rational authority indicates that authority is invested in a set of rules and rule-bound institutions and that the creating and changing the rules are outside of the control of those who administer them; it does not mean, however, that the authority is democratic. Monarchs and even authoritarian leaders who recognize a set of laws external to their powers govern using legal-rational authority. The characteristics of bureaucracy include a fixed salary, posts based on technical skill rather than personal connections, a well-defined hierarchy, and continuous rules which bind the behavior of administrators and citizens or clients alike.

00:00 - Chapter 1. Introduction to Weber's Theory on Legal Rational Authority
04:00 - Chapter 2. Pure Type of Legal Rational Authority
18:17 - Chapter 3. The Bureaucracy
37:58 - Chapter 4. Limitations of Bureaucratic Authority

Complete course materials are available at the Open Yale Courses website: http://open.yale.edu/courses

This course was recorded in Fall 2009.