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Analyse & Kritik

Journal of Philosophy and Social Theory

Ed. by Baurmann, Michael / Leist, Anton / Tranow, Ulf

2 Issues per year

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Volume 13, Issue 1


Max Weber and the Legitimacy of the Modern State

David Beetham
Published Online: 2016-05-12 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/auk-1991-0102


Max Weber’s typology of legitimate ‘Herrschaft’ has provided the basis for the treatment of legitimacy in twentieth century sociology and political science. The thesis of the article is that this typology is a misleading tool for the analysis of the modern state, and especially for the comparative analysis of political systems. This is because of basic flaws in Weber’s conceptualisation of legitimacy itself, and in his account of the normative basis of authority. The article offers an alternative, multi-dimensional, account of political legitimacy, and suggests how it might be used to develop a typology of forms of ‘Herrschaft’ more appropriate to the analysis of the modern state.

About the article

Published Online: 2016-05-12

Published in Print: 1991-05-01

Citation Information: Analyse & Kritik, Volume 13, Issue 1, Pages 34–45, ISSN (Online) 2365-9858, ISSN (Print) 0171-5860, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/auk-1991-0102.

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© 1991 by Lucius & Lucius, Stuttgart.

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