Understanding Legitimacy in Weber’s Perspectives and in Contemporary Society

Oluwagbenga Michael Akinlabi*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Modern thinking about legitimacy has been greatly influenced by Max Weber. According to Weber, people in authority often concoct ‘myths’ about their superiority or natural fitness to be in a position of power. These mythical justifications or claims are often necessary in order to claim moral justifications for their authority and sense of political propriety. These claims come in three broad forms: traditional, charismatic, and legal-rational dominations. They are often referred to as the ‘three inner justifications’ or the ‘basic legitimations of the power holder’. Succinctly put, traditional claims for legitimacy rest on grounds such as: ‘obey me because this is what our people have always done’; charismatic commands such as ‘obey me because I can transform your life’; and lastly, legal-rational orders like ‘obey me because I am your lawfully appointed superior’. These three basic legitimations of power holders and their relevance to modern society, especially their applicability to the African context, is discussed in this chapter.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPolice-Citizen Relations in Nigeria
Subtitle of host publicationProcedural Justice, Legitimacy, and Law-Abiding Behaviour
Place of PublicationCham, Switzerland
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Number of pages14
ISBN (Electronic)9783030929190
ISBN (Print)9783030929183
Publication statusPublished - 2022

Publication series

NamePalgrave's Critical Policing Studies
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
ISSN (Print)2730-535X
ISSN (Electronic)2730-5368


Dive into the research topics of 'Understanding Legitimacy in Weber’s Perspectives and in Contemporary Society'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this