Power, Legitimacy and Authority

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The Routledge International Handbook of Contemporary Social and Political Theory, 2011, 1, pp. 215 - 225
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Any sociological discussion of the relations between power, legitimacy, and authority must start with Max Weber, and some vexed issues of translation, for it was Weber who first developed a systematic account of these tertns as the cornerstone of his social theory. The chapter will begin with an outline of Weber's views of power, legitimacy, and authority, and the interpretation of these in translation. It will then move to consideration of the functionalist theoretical context into which Weber was translated and its extension in Parsons' work. Finally, the chapter will address the recent centrality of dimensional analysis to debates about power in which it is argued that the most subtle and profound power relations are those where actors assume the legitimacy of systems of belief that do not represent their real interests.
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