Legality and Legitimacy: The Sociology of Max Weber

Roger Cotterrell

in Law's Community

Published in print February 1997 | ISBN: 9780198264903
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191682858 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Socio-Legal Studies

Legality and Legitimacy: The Sociology of Max Weber

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Max Weber's views on law are best understood in relation to his general analysis of types of political authority. Weber provided, amongst other elements of his political sociology, a conceptual framework for systematic analysis of the role of law in securing political legitimacy. The significance of this conceptual framework lies partly in the fact that it reflects and promotes a view of legality and legitimacy that has been profoundly influential in the development of the sociology of law and in modern political and legal theory. But, in addition, its key concept, that of legal domination, is elaborated in the context of Weber's important analyses of the character of modern law and of the sociological significance of legal history, as well as his detailed studies of the development of the modern state. Thus, in Weber's writings, the relationships between law and power are analysed with the combination of a lawyer's insights into the character of legal ideas and a great sociologist's synthesizing vision of patterns of economic, political, and social development in history.

Keywords: Max Weber; legal domination; law; legitimacy; modern state; legal ideology; sociology; political authority; legal theory; power

Chapter.  10078 words. 

Subjects: Jurisprudence and Philosophy of Law

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