Charismatic Political Domination

Paul Bullen (1987)

Max Weber noticed similarities between Moses, the Hebrew ‘judges’, kings Saul and David, Judas Maccabeus, Bedouin tribal leaders, various prophets and founders of religions, Homer’s Achilles, Classical Greek ‘demagogues’, legendary Irish hero Cuchulain, China’s emperors, Napoleon Bonaparte, Napoleon III, Lassalle, Gladstone, Theodore Roosevelt, Kurt Eisner, and cult-poet Stefan George. From these and other historical cases he abstracted certain features to produce his ideal type of charismatic domination. In this paper, I reconstruct that ideal type, with special attention to its political form. I first clarify the nature of ideal types and define other relevant concepts.

I. Ideal Types

According to Weber, there are two kinds of knowledge of interest to man. The first, "natural scientific", takes the form of abstract universal laws: the only thing about an atom of interest to a physicist is what it has in common with all other atoms. The second, "cultural scientific" or "historical", takes the form of understanding and causal explanation of "value-relevant" concrete, historical events. These events are understood in their uniqueness, with no interest in how they are instances of any generalizations.

    The investigation of empirical reality in the interest of establishing ‘abstractions’--timelessly valid empirical generalizations (‘laws of nature’)--may be identified as ‘natural science’ and distinguished from the investigation of the same empirical reality in the interest of establishing the causal existence of the ‘concrete individual entity.’ In this case, the distinction is based on the kind of question posed by the investigation. The antithesis of ‘nature,’ therefore, is ‘history.’ Given this distinction, disciplines such as ‘psychology,’ ‘social psychology,’ ‘sociology,’ theoretical socioeconomics, ‘comparative religion,’ and ‘comparative jurisprudence’ all fall within the domain of the natural sciences.1

Sociology is listed as a natural science because it’s task, as Weber sees it, is to produce a certain kind of general concept called the "ideal type."2 However, the products of sociology, unlike those of physics, are only a means in the production of knowledge. Sociology is an auxiliary of "history," which is interested in producing individual concepts to aid in knowing specific historical events.3 Weber’s ideal is not "historical sociology" but sociologized history.

    Within the realm of social action certain empirical uniformities can be observed, that is, courses of action that are repeated by the actor or (simultaneously) occur among numerous actors since the subjective meaning is meant to be the same. Sociological investigation is concerned with these typical modes of action. Thereby it differs from history, the subject of which is rather the causal explanation of important individual events; important, that is in having an influence on human destiny.4

The Renaissance, the French Revolution, the rise of capitalism, the Industrial Revolution, Beatlemania, and the election of Reagan are all individual events which need to be understood in their uniqueness with individual concepts. Individual concepts are made up of general concepts, however; and that is where ideal types come in.

In an ideal type claims are made that under postulated conditions people will behave in certain ways. An ideal type is usually developed after seeing several social-historical situations which appear similar--although not identical. To loosely cover these situations a concept is produced which abstracts and exaggerates certain features, some of which all share to some degree. Thus the ideal type is not a description of any actual situation, although it is in principle possible for there to exist a full embodiment of it; it is simply unlikely and unnecessary.

Ideal types comprise law-like statements that, unlike those of natural science, do not claim universal validity. For one thing they make claims about human behavior, which involves free decision. Based on the observation that in many concrete cases such and such a process did in fact take place, it is suggested that although no one was compelled according to any natural law to behave the way he did, there are quite understandable reasons why he did and why others can be expected to do the same under similar conditions--a model is created in which all action is ‘‘adequately caused on the level of meaning."5 In the ideal type complicating motives or events do not intercede, except for the purpose of making sub-type claims. The ideal type of charismatic domination, for example, assumes the absence of traditional or legalistic restraints, complete devotion to the leader, unambiguously extraordinary times and emotions, etc. Most cases to which an ideal type is relevant are, however, quite mixed; which is why such a "type" is called ‘ideal.’

The value or truthfulness of an ideal type can only be decided indirectly since it refers to no particular historical event. If the content of an ideal type seems implausible or to have no connection with reality, it may be faulty or useless. Furthermore, perfectly satisfactory ideal types that are fruitful for one scholar may be of no interest to another one because although he is dealing with the same general topic, his specific focus may be quite different.

In using an ideal type one cannot simply identify, say, the rise of Khomeini as a case of charismatic domination and have explained very much. The ideal type, if it seems relevant, must be brought to bear in a situation, both to give substance to one’s mental image of the object of study and to be used as an heuristic device by which to derive testable hypotheses.

II. Political Domination

Here I lay out some of the conceptual elements with which Max Weber builds his ideal types of social life, including that of charismatic domination. Action is meaningful (or intentional) behavior.6 Social action is human action the meaning (or intention) of which takes into consideration the actions of other people. Social action can be variously motivated. Weber proposed four ideal-typical kinds of social (and non-social) action. Two of them are rational: goal-rational (quasi-consequentialist) and value-rational (quasi-deontological); and two of them are non-rational: traditional and emotional. A social relationship is interrelated social action among a plurality of people in which the meanings of the social actions involved have undergone mutual adjustment.7 To be a social relationship it is not required that all participants have identical definitions of the situation, only that their views be reciprocally adjusted. Unlike molecules, chemicals, or billiard balls, men have minds with memories which accumulate experiences and develop policies toward recurring situations. Such policies, or rules of conduct, or maxims are a pervasive part of human behavior.

    [Maxims] can influence conduct with very different degrees of consciousness. Consider the child who ‘learns’ how to walk, to keep himself clean, and to shun unhygienic pleasures. He sees that the life of other people proceeds according to certain ‘rules.’ By ‘learning’ to do these things, he internalizes these ‘rules.’ He learns how to ‘express’ himself in a language, and he learns who to behave ‘with civility.’ (1) In part he does all this without consciously formulating the rule which he--with very different degrees of consistency--in fact follows. (2) In part he does this on the basis of the conscious application of ‘empirical propositions’ of the type: y is a consequence of x. (3) And in part does it because--whether through ‘education’ or through simple imitation--the ‘rule’ has been impressed upon him as the idea of an intrinsically obligatory ‘norm’ the fulfillment of which is good for its own sake.8

    When the fairly mutually agreed upon meaning of a social relationship is such that it imposes itself as a maxim or set of maxims on the participants that meaning is an order.9

    A ‘legal order’ may be analyzed as a complex of maxims in the minds of certain men who really exist. These maxims have a causal influence upon their actual conduct.10

An order is valid to the extent of the probability that it can be expected to be observed by those people. The element of expectation is important because it allows people to orient their actions accordingly. An order’s validity can be supported "inwardly" by emotional, ethical, or religious impulses, or "outwardly" by the threat of sanctions. If there are external sanctions against violators in the form of social disapproval, the order is a convention. If the sanctions are psychological or physical coercion applied by a staff (such as clergy or "people with spiked helmets"), the order is a law.

If a social relationship restricts participation it is closed, and open if does not. If a social relationship is based upon the (traditional or emotional) feeling of the members that they belong together, it is communal (Vergemeinschaftung); it is associative (Vergesellschaftung) if it is based upon the goal- or value-rationally motivated mutual adjustment of interests. A closed social relationship in which enforcement of its order is entrusted to a staff is an organization (Verband) (i.e., an organization is a social relationship of restricted entry whose order is in part law). An organization in which all within a category are subject to its order is a compulsory organization (Anstalt). (It is a voluntary organization [Verein] when a person can himself decide whether to join the group and be subject to its discipline). At least one person giving commands to at least one other person, and reasonably expecting them to be obeyed, is domination (Herrschaft). When a person’s commands are obeyed because they have the "prestige of obligatoriness (verbindlichkeit) or exemplariness (vorbildlichkeit)," his domination is "legitimate." If obedience is offered out of material or ideal interests, emotion, or habit, domination is "non-legitimate." If the commands are seen as the opposite of obligatory and exemplary (e.g., if they are believed to be immoral) but because of fear obedience is offered anyway, domination is "illegitimate." An organization in which there are persons who direct the administrative staff and who do not themselves receive their power from a superior, and in which these masters and their staff are predictably able to have their commands obeyed, is an organization based on domination (Herrschaftsverband). An organization based on domination which is compulsory and in which compliance with the master’s commands is enforced over all (the ruled) who live in a geographical area by a staff using physical force when necessary is political. An organization based on domination is religious if enforcement is based on spiritual coercion, that is, on the organization’s ability to distribute or withhold spiritual benefits. A political organization based on domination is a "state" if the staff not only uses physical force in enforcing a master’s commands over all who live in a geographic area, but that staff successfully upholds a claim to a monopoly of the legitimate use of such force. A religious organization based on domination that claims a monopoly of the legitimate use spiritual coercion is a "church." This paper concentrates on political organizations based on domination, that is, not on religious ones and not just on "states." An organization based on domination which is both political and "legitimate," then, is a social relationship of restricted entry involving all people living within a geographical area which is oriented around an order and the commands of a master--both of which are widely taken to be binding and are reinforced by an administrative apparatus using physical force when necessary. The focus of this paper is one species of these entities: the organization based on domination that is political and whose "legitimacy" rests on charismatic grounds.

III. Legitimacy and ‘Legitimacy’

Let us pursue the idea of "legitimacy" a bit further. Weber wrote that "the continued exercise of every domination . . . always has the strongest need of self-justification through appealing to the principles of its legitimation," and that "the basis of every domination, as well as all obedience, is a faith (Glaube): a ‘prestige’-faith--in favor of the rulers." However, if we consider the bulk of what Weber wrote on the topic, even in part 1 of Economy and Society, it is clear that he did not make a universal claim that legitimacy was required, or even that it was the dominant motivation in the validity of orders or situations of domination. In fact, he said that "a system of domination may . . . be so completely protected . . . that it can afford to drop even the pretense of a claim to legitimacy." His did believe that "legitimacy" has existed in many places to some extent and that its presence tends to have a stabilizing influence on a relationship of domination and obedience. Deciding how much it exists in a particular case of domination is a matter of empirical research.

Although Weber’s claim about the stabilizing effects of "legitimacy" is ostensibly comparable to Aristotle’s "great principle . . . that the multitude wanting the regime [be] superior [in numbers] to that not wanting it," Weber is referring to mental states which are more specific than "wanting." In fact, he rules out all the normal human motivations as bases for the belief in legitimacy:

    Custom or [material] interests are as little able as purely affectual or purely value-rational motives of solidarity to form a reliable basis for domination. In addition there is normally a further element: the belief in legitimacy.24

    Action, especially social action, and in turn especially a social relationship, can be oriented to the idea, held by the persons involved, of the existence of a legitimate order . . . . With respect to the meaning-content of a social relationship, we will a) call it an "order" only if the action is (approximately or on the average) oriented toward determinable "maxims." We will b) only then speak of this order as "legitimate" when this orientation (among other possible reasons) follows from those maxims being somehow seen as obligatory (verbindlich) or exemplary (vorbildlich). Naturally, in concrete cases, the orientation of action to an order involves a wide variety of motives. But the circumstance that, along with the other sources of conformity, the order is also held by at least part of the actors to be exemplary (verbindlich) or obligatory (vorbildlich), naturally increases the probability that action will in fact conform to it, often to a very considerable degree. An order which is adhered to from goal-rational motives is generally much less stable than one upheld only by virtue of custom through the fact that the corresponding behavior has become habitual. The latter is much the most common attitude. But even this type of order is in turn much less stable than an order which enjoys the prestige of exemplariness (verbindlichkeit) or obligatoriness (vorbildlichkeit), or, as it may be expressed, of "legitimacy." The transitions from motivations toward an order which are only traditional or goal-rational to a belief in its legitimacy (Legitimäts-Glauben) are naturally quite fluid in reality.25

Thus, a person who conforms to an order or obeys a command because he believes it or them to be legitimate is not motivated by the expectation of material benefit or spiritual salvation, nor is he acting out of habit or emotionalism. He instinctively senses the order or command to be morally binding.

Weber backs up his ideas on ‘legitimacy’ with observations about "highly robust (‘pharisaic’) needs of man." He claims both in his sociology of religion and his sociology of domination that privileged men universally need to justify their positions and/or possessions.

    The fates of human beings are not equal. Men differ in their states of health or wealth or social status or what not . . . . he who is more favored feels the never ceasing need to look upon his advantage as ‘deserved,’ and the other’s disadvantage as being brought about by the latter’s ‘fault’ . . . . Every highly privileged group develops the myth of its natural, especially its blood, superiority.30

In stable times this myth or "status-legend" is accepted by the disprivileged strata. At other times it loses its persuasive force and becomes an object of hateful attack by members of the underprivileged stratum (and often of the privileged stratum too). During such times the domination loses its ‘legitimacy.’ My interest in this paper is restricted to legitimation as it applies to political leaders issuing commands to others who usually obey. They too must justify their unequal share or power, honor, and access to material resources.

Although Weber acknowledges the possibility of numerous ways of classifying systems of domination, he emphasizes "those basic types of domination which result when we search for the ultimate grounds of the validity of a domination, in other words, when we inquire into those grounds upon which there are based the claims of obedience made by the master against ‘officials’ and of both against the ruled" because "for a domination, this kind of justification of its legitimacy is much more than a matter of theoretical or philosophical speculation; it rather constitutes the basis of very real differences in the empirical structure of domination." The way a domination is legitimated determines the way the master rules, the attitudes of the ruled toward the regime, and the kind of staff that is employed to enforce obedience. According to Weber there are only three possible "ultimate principles" of ‘legitimacy.’ (1) Commands can be seen as obligatory and exemplary when those obeying believe that tradition is binding and that the person issuing the commands does so in a way that is sanctioned by tradition. Traditional domination is typically represented by "patriarchalism," a major variant of which is "patrimonialism." (2) Commands can be taken as binding when those obeying believe that positively enacted laws are binding and that the person issuing the commands is acting in accordance with applicable law. Rational-legal domination is typically embodied in bureaucracy. (3) Commands can be taken to be exemplary and obligatory when those obeying believe that "charisma" is binding and that the person issuing the commands is acting in accordance with charisma. This third kind of legitimate domination (charismatic domination) is the basis for the "charismatic structure of domination." The political form of this domination is the topic of this paper. ‘Charisma’ is defined shortly.

Beyond setting up his ideal types, Weber did make some empirical-historical generalizations concerning the three kinds of ‘legitimate’ domination. Most societies are composites of all three elements. In some societies or groups, one or another of them may predominate, sometimes--rarely--to the virtual exclusion of the others. Also, a given group or society may vary in its emphasis over time. Traditional domination has had a long history, which has in large measure been eclipsed in the modern Occident by the rational-legal domination of the bureaucratic nation-state. Charismatic domination is always an unusual and short-lived phenomenon occurring in the context of either traditional or rational-legal "routine" social arrangements. Charismatic domination was (and is), however, particularly frequently resorted to in primitive societies.

IV. Genuine Charismatic Political Domination

‘Charisma’ is a supernatural power--such as magical forces, spirits, or God--which a person has behind him, or a rare and outstanding ability that he has within. Conceivably, a) a person may have charisma but nobody believes he does; or b) he may have charisma and others do believe he does; or c) he may have not charisma but others believe he does anyway; or d) he may have only a little bit of charisma but others may believe he has a lot. It is the last three situations that are of sociological interest. Weber was not interested (for the purposes of his theory) in supernatural forces or extraordinary personalities. His interest was in a kind of social relationship which arises when one or more people believe a person has charisma. For practical purposes, a person will be considered a bearer of charisma regardless of whether he really bears it by the strict definition. It is only required that he is believed to be a bearer of charisma by others. The dual use of this word parallels the dual use of the term ‘legitimacy.’

A person commits miraculous or mighty deeds. Seeing or hearing about these deeds, others come to believe that he is generally possessed of extraordinary powers. When this impression assists the gifted person in having his commands obeyed on a regular basis by these people, there obtains a social relationship of "charismatic domination."

    The term ‘charisma’ shall be understood to refer to an extraordinary quality of a person, regardless of whether this quality is actual, alleged, or presumed. ‘Charismatic domination,’ hence, shall refer to a rule over men, whether predominantly external or predominantly internal, to which the governed submit because of their belief in the extraordinary quality of the specific person.47

The thorough-going charismatic leader has a quasi-messianic significance to his followers and is able to introduce new social norms. He is not followed because of his conformity with ancient traditions or existing statutes. Rather he is obeyed because he is believed to be so exceptionally endowed that he has the right to do whatever he wants. In a traditional culture public disregard for convention is fatal for ordinary mortals. Public disregard for law is likewise fatal in the modern legal culture. Only those whom a large number of people believe to be sanctioned by a higher or deeper authority can get away with such disregard.

To maintain ‘legitimacy’ a bearer of charisma must periodically repeat the kind of impressive feats by which his domination was originally established. The sayings "nothing succeeds like success" and "everyone loves a winner" point to psychological bases for charismatic domination. The need for a charismatic leader constantly to prove himself makes the charismatic following potentially fickle and superficial. As soon as the leader stumbles, the kind of mass psychology which helped raise him up can just as irrationally cause his supporters to reject him unforgivingly. Of course, there may be a core of supporters who have developed a filial loyalty and who stay with the leader even through bad times. Others may deny the reality or permanence of the bad times and expect an immanent or ultimate ‘second coming.’

Corresponding to the charismatic grounds for claiming legitimacy is the charismatic structure of domination. Charismatic legitimation determines the nature of the relationship between the rulers and the ruled and, within the ruling stratum, between the master and the apparatus. In any organization based on domination in which the grounds for ‘legitimacy’ are charismatic there is one central master (the ‘leader’ [Führer]) who picks apparatus members (his ‘agents’ [Vortrauensmänner]), at least of the inner circle, on the basis of their own charismatic qualifications--rather than their technical abilities. These people are materially supported sporadically and in kind and are directly removable by the master. They do not have clear and hierarchically arranged responsibilities. The charismatic elite relates to the ruled (‘followers’ [Anhängern]) with a high degree of emotion and the followers form a ‘community’ or ‘congregation’ (Gemeinde) on the basis of communal social relationships of the emotional variant. Members live communistically, in the sense that they have a "lack of ‘calculation’ in the consumption of goods."

The "creation of charismatic domination in the pure sense . . . is always the offspring (Kind) of unusual (ungewöhnlicher) . . . situations." Weber specifies two kinds of unusual situations, which independently or in conjunction can give rise to charismatic domination: (1) "outer, especially political or economic," and (2) "inner, spiritual-psychological (innere seelischer), particularly religious." Although Weber does not here list examples of such situations, presumably "unusual" political situations could be: war or the delegitimation of the existing privilege structure; unusual economic situations: the periodic hunting party, depression, drought, or boom; unusual religious situations: persecution, ecclesiastical corruption, or revival. If so, the "usual" state of the polity would be: stability, safety, or ‘legitimacy’; of the economy: sufficiency; of religion: freedom, integrity and routine worship. Weber does not claim that these conditions are sufficient causes of charismatic domination. And, although in the passage under consideration Weber uses the word ‘always’ (thus suggesting they are necessary conditions), conceivably a charismatic person could create unusual circumstances himself. (In any case, Weber is specifying an ideal type, not natural laws of history or society.) The passage cited at the top of this paragraph suggests that people with "unusual" mental conditions would be more susceptible to charismatic leaders. Weber continues, following the passage mentioned, to remark that charismatic domination "arises from group (Menschengruppe gemeinsamen) excitement born in extraordinary circumstances and from the self-surrender (Hingabe) to heroism of whatever kind" (W&G 661/E&S 1121). Thus, extraordinary events cause collective excitement (extraordinary emotions); and collective excitement causes a predisposition (for many people) toward being the receiving end, so to speak, of extraordinary (charismatic) leadership. Presumably, the situation, to be relevantly extraordinary, must be experienced as extraordinary, or as a crisis, by the people involved; and some people will react to putative "crises" with greater equanimity than others (i.e., some people are more prone to see a situation as a crisis than others).

Both the mental states of the followers and that of the charismatic leader are "extraordinary." Many leaders were legitimated by their capacity for achieving ecstatic states. According to Weber, throughout history the vast majority of people have instinctively adapted to environmental norms, be they customary, conventional, or legal. The rare occurrences of innovation, the overcoming of the "inertia of the customary," is--when not due to factors beyond human will--usually the result of the "influence of people who have experienced certain ‘abnormal’ states (which are frequently, but not always, regarded by present-day psychiatry as pathological) and hence have been capable of exercising a special influence on others" (E&S 321).

    The bearers of charisma, the oracles of the prophets, or the edicts of charismatic war lords alone could integrate ‘new’ laws into the circle of what was upheld by tradition. Just as revelation and the sword were the two extraordinary powers, so were they the two typical innovators.57

There are two poles of abnormal mental states which allow for innovation and the production of new customary, conventional, or legal norms.

    The first is ‘inspiration’: the sudden epiphanic realization that a certain action ‘must’ be done . . . . The other is ‘empathy’: the experience of one person’s attitude (eigenen inneren Verhaltens) by another person who is influenced by him . . . . Very often . . . large scale ‘social action’ oriented to an influencer and his experience is induced and from this, in turn, certain kinds of ‘consensus’ with corresponding contents may be developed . . . . The effects of ‘empathy’ and, even more so, of ‘inspiration’ . . . constitute the primary sources of the achievement of actual innovations, whose ‘practice’ as regularities will, in turn, reinforce the sense of ‘obligatoriness’ (Verbindlichkeit), by which they are--possibly--accompanied . . . . . The emerging innovation is most likely to produce a ‘consensus’ and ultimately ‘law,’ when it derives from a strong ‘inspiration’ or an intensive ‘empathy.’ In such cases a ‘convention’ will result or, under certain circumstances, even consensual coercive action against deviants.58

The charismatic leader is "inspired" to introduce new maxims and his followers "empathically" accept those maxims as an obligatory order.

Although in its ideal typical form ‘charismatic domination’ deals with human experience similar to Durkheim’s notion of the ‘sacred,’ Weber also had in mind the concept’s application to much more power-political situations, in which religious or quasi-religious overtones are minimal. This can be especially noticed in Weber’s use of the ideal type in Ancient Judaism, where he characterizes as charismatic sib sheiks who became Bedouin tribal leaders through feats of warfare or judicial wisdom; Edomite kings, about whom "the fact that [they] clearly did not succeed one another hereditarily would seem to indicate the purely personal charismatic character of [their] position;" and war heroes who established hegemonic rule (as "judges") in the Hebrew confederacy. These considerations may, however, affect only our understanding of the domain of relevant cases, rather than the ideal type itself.

V. Charisma’s Influence in Routine Times

If a leader does not end in disgrace, his influence can persist into the post-charismatic period through a type of social relationship which is still in part based on the belief in extraordinary powers, but which is also adapted to routine circumstances. The creation of routine institutions and social relationships out of the charismatic structure of domination allows for the new norms and ideas introduced by the bearer of charisma to effect a permanent change in a society or culture.

    The charismatic following of a war leader may be transformed into a state, the charismatic community of a prophet, artist, philosopher, ethical or scientific innovator may become a church, sect, or school, and the charismatic group which espouses certain cultural ideals may develop into a party or merely the staff of newspapers and periodicals (E&S 1121).

Weber distinguished pure or genuine charisma from its "routinized" forms. The "routinization of charisma" (Veralltäglichung des Charisma) (E&S 452, 1124), means the changing of charismatic domination in the direction of the "routine" or everyday--away from the "extraordinary." In The Religion of India Weber defines "routinized" as "made a part of everyday social life" (p. 49).

Genuine charismatic domination is inherently temporary and unstable. As charismatic domination is always the "offspring" of unusual situations, a return to situational normality will tend to cause a decline in the charismatic content of the social relationship. If a charismatic movement is not to die out it must transform itself into a structure adapted to routine times.

As time goes by the enthusiasm caused by a bearer of charisma attenuates as mundane realities come increasingly to preoccupy his followers.

    Every charisma . . . finds itself in every hour of its existence moving further along this path from a turbulently emotional and economically estranged (wirtschaftsfremden) life to a slow death by suffocation under the weight of material interests.65

The turning point between genuine and routinized charisma occurs when the close followers of the leader come to have defined positions, first as the leader’s table companions, "marked out by special privileges;" and later more formal positions, duties, and methods of pay (the latter starting with the prebend, i.e., "the ‘allowance’ granted in place of the earlier communistic mode of provision from the common store"). They come to have such jobs within the organization as vassal, priest, public functionary, party official, editor, secretary, publisher, publicist, or teacher. These second-tier leaders begin to live off the movement and not just for it. Members of the third tier--the ruled--become tax-paying subjects, contributing members, conscripted soldiers, or law-abiding citizens. Furthermore, "charismatic preaching inevitably--even despite the Apostle’s admonition not to ‘damp down the spirit’--declines . . . into dogma, doctrine, theory, regulations, legal judgments, or petrified tradition."

Motivating this transformation are the desires on the part of the apparatus and the ruled to have stable family relationships and a steady income. Such desires must be reconciled with their desire to continue the social relationship started by the charismatic leader. The balance between concern for group participation and pursuit of routine objectives varies from individual to individual, as does the degree to which there is a conflict between the two interests.

    The principal motives underlying this transformation [routinization of charisma] are the following:
    a) the ideal or also material interests of the supporters (Anhängerschaft--the ruled) in the continuation and continual reactivation of the community,--
    b) the still stronger ideal, and stronger still material, interests of the administrative staff (followers [Gefolgschaft], disciples, party workers, or others) in:
    1. continuing their relationship, in fact
    2. continuing it in such a way that their own ideal and material position is put on a lasting, routine basis: above all the establishment of a family life, or at least a prosperous livelihood in place of their world-denying [?] (weltenthobenen), familially- and economically-estranged ‘missions’ (Sendungen). (W&G 143/E&S 246)

    The limitless freedom to found families and acquire wealth which is finally given marks the end of the domination of true charisma.68

The leader himself may want to make his organization permanent by accommodating his followers’ quotidian needs (E&S 1121). Attention to the everyday makes a quantum leap when the leader dies, since inter alia the successor (if there is one) is not in a position to make the same kinds of demands of the members as the founder. If he has charisma at all, it is at least in part derived from his affiliation with the founder.

Domination based on charismatic legitimation changes in the direction a domination based on ‘routine" legitimation, that is, either traditional or rational-legal, or a combination of the two. Since extraordinariness is among the defining characteristics of charisma, routinization entails a diminishing of charisma. However, the routinization of charisma does not require the complete elimination of all charismatic vestiges. There can be charismatic, traditional and rational-legal elements combined in any situation.

One way that charisma persists into routine times is in an "objectified" form. The process whereby charisma becomes detached from a self-legitimated charismatic individual and is transferable to or acquirable by others is called Versachlichung des Charisma, conventionally translated as the "depersonalization of charisma" (E&S 1143ff). This translation can be misleading, however, since it is usually persons who have this kind of charisma and these persons are treated in many ways as original bearers of "personal" charisma. ‘Sachlich’ means matter-of-fact, objective, factual or relevant, and Versachlichung des Charisma could perhaps more literally be translated as "objectification of charisma." In discussing "office charisma" in part one of Wirtschaft und Gesellschaft, Weber introduces and clarifies the term "Versachlichung des Charisma." For some reason, however, the translators did not see fit to translate this term as a term here, instead substituting for it their own attempt at a definition. Where Weber simply writes "Versachlichung des Charisma," the translators offer: "a dissociation of charisma from a particular individual, making it an objective, transferable entity." Though by no means a literal translation, this is actually not a bad attempt at clarification. In its "dissociation . . . from an individual" and the making of it an "objective, transferable entity," charisma becomes in a certain sense impersonal, and in a certain sense objective.

"Objectified" charisma is nongenuine and, as such, routinized. In the Economy and Society (part II) section, "The Depersonalization of Charisma" (E&S 1135), after introducing the idea and types of the objectification of charisma, Weber writes, "in this manner charisma becomes a component of everyday life and changes into a permanent structure." Objectification is nonetheless definitionally distinct from routinization:

    Whatever we have said until now about the possible consequences of the routinization of charisma has not affected its strictly personal quality. However, we will now turn to phenomena whose common feature is a peculiar objectification (Versachlichung) of charisma.74

Although all non-genuine charisma is routinized, not all routinized charisma is objectified: some routinized charisma is objectified and some is "personal." Charismatic domination which is neither genuine nor objectified is personal charisma which was once genuine but is now making a transition from extraordinary times to stable everyday structures (i.e., it is undergoing a process of routinization). When a charismatic leader’s movement settles down and becomes less emotional and more organized, the it has become (by definition) more routine, but to the extent that it is still charismatic it is still based on the personally earned charisma of the founder, and thus is not yet objectified.

When introducing the phenomenon of the objectification of charisma, Weber specified three subtypes:

    From a strictly personal grace-gift, charisma may be transformed into a quality that is either
    1. transferable or
    2. personally acquirable or
    3. not attached to a person as such, but to the holder of an office or to an institutional structure without regard to the person. (W&G 671/E&S 1135)

The first of these three types of objectified charisma is that which is "transferable," such as when extraordinary powers (charismata) of the original leader are believed to be passed on through his lineage. In such cases a descendent is accorded a special status not because of his own behavior but because of his "blood" affiliation. The person dominating on account of "hereditary charisma" is not legitimated by tradition, law, or "personal" charisma. One relevance of hereditary charisma to political domination is that often the child, relative, or descendent of a charismatic leader is in a strong position to claim the right to rule. An example is the tendency of the prestige of the charismatic tribal bedouin leader (sayid) to be transferred to the sheiks of his own sib (tribes are made up of sibs, which are made up of families). Other possible examples are the affiliation of Napoleon III with Napoleon Bonaparte and the inheriting of the David’s throne by Solomon and his descendants, and the belief that the messiah would come from the line of David. At some point hereditary charisma may approximate traditional legitimation. If custom has it that the eldest son of the present ruler succeed his father, this may be a wholly routine, traditional form of social action and have minimal charismatic significance. Once a person, enthroned, say, on the basis of primogeniture, has power over life and death, he may be accorded a deference which is charismatic in the sense developed by Edward Shils, but his position and prestige were not gained by virtue of his objectified charismatic affiliation with an earlier relative who had "personal" charisma.

The second kind of objectified charisma is that "personally acquirable." In "Sociology of Religion" Weber wrote:

    Charisma may be either of two types. Where appellation is fully merited, charisma is a gift that inheres in an object or person simply by virtue of natural endowment. Such primary charisma cannot be acquired by any means. But charisma of the other type may be produced artificially in an object or person through some extraordinary means. Even then, it is assumed that charismatic powers can be developed only in people or objects in which the germ already existed but would have remained dormant unless evoked by some ascetic or other regimen. (E&S 400)

The training of magicians, unlike that of priests, "proceeds in part as an ‘awakening’ using irrational means and aiming at rebirth" (pp. 11-12).

    At the root of the oldest and most universally diffused magical system of education is the animistic assumption that just as the magician himself requires rebirth and the possession of a new soul for his art, so heroism rests on a charisma which must be aroused, tested, and instilled into the hero by magical manipulations. In this way, therefore, the warrior is reborn into heroism. Charismatic education in this sense, with its novitiates, trials of courage, tortures, gradations of holiness and honor, initiation of youths, and preparation for battle, is an almost universal institution of all societies which have experienced warfare. (E&S 458)

This non-"primary" sort of charisma corresponds to the second type of objectified charisma, which is discussed under the title, "charismatic education":

    Once charismatic qualification has become an impersonal quality, which can be transmitted through various and at first purely magic means, it has begun its transformation from a personal gift that can be tested and proven but not transmitted and acquired, into a capacity that, in principle, can be taught and learned. Thus charismatic qualification can become an object of education . . . . [The elements of charismatic education are:] Isolation from the familiar environment and from all family ties . . . ; . . . entrance into an exclusive educational community; complete transformation of personal conduct; asceticism; physical and psychic exercises of the most diverse forms to awaken the capacity for ecstasy and regeneration; continuous testing of the level of charismatic perfection through shock, torture and mutilation . . . ; finally, graduated ceremonious reception into the circle of those who have proven their charisma. (E&S 1143)

Among the ancient Hebrews, Nazarites, the "ascetically trained warrior ecstatics," and Nebiim, the "magical ecstatics," acquired their charisma through such "education." The person dominating on account of learned charisma is not legitimated in his position by law, tradition, or personal charisma. One relevance of charismatic education to political domination is that in some cultures the decision as to who among the several qualified potential successors to a ruler will actually take over power is decided by a fighting ordeal among these men, during which one acquires his charisma and vanquishes the rest. On the one hand, it is after the fact held that the winner was destined for his position, while, on the other hand, it is believed that he could not have assumed his proper position with first acquiring his charisma through the ordeal.

The third form of objectified charisma is that which is "not attached to a person as such, but to the holder of an office or to an institutional structure." This exists when a person is accorded a special dignity because of the organizational position he occupies, regardless of his personal qualifications and beyond what his personal qualities would normally command. (This does not refer to fear of the potential harm that a powerful person could inflict.) Examples of this are ritualized installation of catholic priests and the coronation of Charlemagne by the Pope (E&S 248-49). (Napoleon’s self-coronation at the other end of the first, one thousand year, Reich later indicates a more personal charisma.) Weber also says that charisma can be attached to an institutional structure itself. The state, the church, and the communist party are such charismatic corporate entities.

    Office charisma (Amtscharisma)--the belief in the specific state of grace of a social institution as such--is by no means limited to the churches and even less to primitive conditions. Under modern conditions, too, it finds politically relevant expression in the inner relationships of subjects toward state power. (W&G 675/E&S 1140; W&G 144/E&S 248)

Durkheim makes similar points to Weber on the sacredness or charisma of institutions and positions of power:

    Society . . . frequently chances to consecrate men . . . who have no right to it from their own merit. The simple deference inspired by men invested with high social functions is not different in nature from religious respect. It is expressed in the same movements: a man keeps his distance from a high personage; he approaches him only with precautions; he uses other gestures and language than those used with ordinary mortals. The sentiment felt on these occasions is so closely related to the religious sentiment that many people have confounded the two.85

Persons dominating on account of office charisma are not legitimated by law, tradition, or personal charisma. One relevance of office and institutional charisma to politics is that if charismatic leaders are able to establish institutions that allow for charisma to be passed on to successors in an orderly fashion (such as religious charisma did with the Petrine doctrine of apostolic succession), they can increase the chances of influencing society beyond the brief period of their personal charismatic rule. Because of the somewhat magical nature of such transference, it is more appropriate to religious institutions.

These three kinds of charisma are "objectified" or "depersonalized" in the sense that a person is taken to possess charisma not because of anything he himself has done, but in virtue of factors outside of himself, that is, because he is of a certain family, because he survived a training regimen, because he occupies a certain office. In the case of institutional charisma, the subject of charisma is not even a person at all, but rather an hypostatized corporate entity.

VI. Conclusion

For Weber the purpose of an ideal type is achieved when it aids in the understanding and explanation of a concrete situation; the proper ultimate significance to the cultural scientist of a concrete situation is not as an aid in the production an ideal type. The valid intermediary activity of producing ideal types can, however, give the impression that means and ends are reversed. Hence, the appropriate thing to do now (if Weber is right) would be to study some specific, "value-relevant" political event or period of history, and use the ideal type reconstructed above--or other ideal types--in the process. Such a study could, as a byproduct, cause a rethinking of the ideal type.


Works by Max Weber

Ancient Judaism. Translated and edited by Hans H. Gerth and Don Martindale. New York: Free Press, 1952.

Charisma and Institution Building: Selected Papers. Edited with an introduction by S. N. Eisenstadt. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1968.

Economy and Society: An Outline of Interpretive Sociology. 2 vols. Edited by Guenther Roth and Claus Wittich. Translated by Ephraim Fischoff et al. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1978.

Critique of Stammler. Translated with an introductory essay by Guy Oakes. New York: Free Press, 1977.

From Max Weber: Essays in Sociology. Translated and edited with an introduction by H. H. Gerth and C. Wright Mills. New York: Oxford University Press, 1946.

General Economic History. Translated by Frank H. Knight; with a new introduction by Ira J. Cohen. New Brunswick, N.J.: Transaction Books, 1981.

The Interpretation of Social Reality. Edited with an introduction by J. E. T. Eldridge. New York: Schocken Books, 1980.

"Marginal Utility and ‘The Fundamental Law of Psychophysics’." Social Science Quarterly. Vol. 56, no. 1 (June 1975), pp. 21-36.

The Methodology of the Social Sciences. Translated and edited by Edward A. Shils and Henry A. Finch. New York: Free Press, 1949.

"‘Objectivity’ in Social Science and Social Policy" in The Methodology of the Social Sciences. Translated and edited by Edward A. Shils and Henry A. Finch. New York: Free Press, 1949.

On Universities: The Power of the State and the Dignity of the Academic Calling in Imperial Germany. Translated, edited, and with and introductory note by Edward Shils. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1973.

"Politics as a Vocation." Pp. 77-128 in Max Weber, From Max Weber: Essays in Sociology. Translated and edited with an introduction by H. H. Gerth and C. Wright Mills. New York: Oxford University Press, 1946.

The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism. Translated by Talcott Parsons. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1958, 1976.

"Protestant Sects and the Spirit of Capitalism." Pp. 302-322 in Max Weber, From Max Weber: Essays in Sociology. Translated and edited with an introduction by H. H. Gerth and C. Wright Mills. New York: Oxford University Press, 1946

Die protestantische Ethik I: Eine Aufsatzsammlung. Tübingen: Gütersloher Verlagshaus, Gerd Mohn, 1984

The Religion of China: Confucianism and Taoism. Translated and edited by Hans H. Gerth; introduction by C. K. Yang. New York: Free Press, 1951, 1964.

The Religion of India: The Sociology of Hinduism and Buddhism. Translated and edited by Hans H. Gerth and Don Martindale. Glencoe, Ill.: Free Press, 1958.

"Religious Rejections of the World and Their Directions." Pp. 323-359 in Max Weber, From Max Weber: Essays in Sociology. Translated and edited with an introduction by H. H. Gerth and C. Wright Mills. New York: Oxford University Press, 1946.

"Science as a Vocation." Pp. 129-156 in Max Weber, From Max Weber: Essays in Sociology. Translated and edited with an introduction by H. H. Gerth and C. Wright Mills. New York: Oxford University Press, 1946.

Selections in Translation. Edited by W. G. Runciman. Translated by Eric Matthews. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1978.

"The Social Psychology of World Religions." Pp. 267-301 in Max Weber, From Max Weber: Essays in Sociology. Translated and edited with an introduction by H. H. Gerth and C. Wright Mills. New York: Oxford University Press, 1946

"Some Categories of Interpretive Sociology." The Sociological Quarterly. 22 (Spring 1981): 151-80.

Wirtschaft und Gesellschaft: Grundriss der Verstehende Soziologie. 5th edition. Edited by Johannes Winckelmann. Tübingen: J. C. B. Mohr (Paul Siebeck), 1985.

Works by Other People

Alexander, Jeffrey C. Theoretical Logic in Sociology. Vol. 3: The Classical Attempt at Theoretical Synthesis: Max Weber. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1983.

Andreski, Stanislav. Max Weber’s Insights and Errors. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1984.

Aristotle. The Politics. Translated with an introduction, notes, and glossary by Carnes Lord. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1984.

Aron, Raymond. German Sociology. Translated by Mary and Thomas Bottomore. New York: Free Press of Glencoe, 1964.

-------- Main Currents in Sociological Thought. Vol. 2: Durkheim, Pareto, Weber. Translated by Richard Howard and Helen Weaver. Garden City, N.Y.: Anchor Books, 1970.

Bendix, Reinhard. "Charismatic Leadership." Pp. 170-87 in Reinhard Bendix and Guenther Roth. Scholarship and Partisanship: Essays on Max Weber. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1971.

Bendix, Reinhard. Max Weber: An Intellectual Portrait. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1977.

Bensman, Joseph and Givant, Michael. "Charisma and Modernity: The Use and Abuse of a Concept." Social Research. 42, no.4 (Winter 1975): 570-614.

Berger, Peter L. "Charisma and Religious Innovation: The Social Location of Israelite Prophecy." American Sociological Review. 28, no. 6 (December 1963): 940-950.

Bullen, Paul. "The Rise and Decline of Afrikaner Ethnicism in the Twentieth Century." Chicago, 1989. Unpublished manuscript.

Bruun, H. H. Science, Values and Politics in Max Weber’s Methodology. Copenhagen: Munksgaard, 1972.

Burger, Thomas. Max Weber’s Theory of Concept Formation: History, Laws, and Ideal Types. New expanded edition. Durham, North Carolina: Duke University Press, 1987.

Cavalli, Luciano. "Charisma and Twentieth Century-Politics." Pp. 317-33 in Max Weber, Rationality and Modernity. Edited by Scott Lash and Sam Whimster. London: Allen & Unwin, 1987.

Collins, Randall. Max Weber: A Skeleton Key. Beverley Hills, Calif.: Sage Publications, 1986.

Durkheim, Emile. The Elementary Forms of Religious Life. Translated by Joseph Ward Swain. New York: Free Press, 1915.

Eisenstadt, S. N. "Introduction: Charisma and Institution Building: Max Weber and Modern Sociology." Pp. ix-lvi in Max Weber, Charisma and Institution Building. Edited with and introduction by S. N. Eisenstadt. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1968

Freud, Sigmund. Group Psychology and the Analysis of the Ego. Translated and edited by James Strachey. W. W. Norton, 1959.

Geertz, Clifford. "Centers, Kings and Charisma: Reflections on the Symbolics of Power." Pp. 150-71 in Joseph Ben-David and Terry Nicholas Clark, eds., Culture and Its Creators: Essays in Honor of Edward Shils. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1977.

Graber, Edith. "Translator’s Introduction to Max Weber’s Essay on Some Categories of Interpretive Sociology." The Sociological Quarterly. 22 (Spring 1981): 145-50.

Greenfeld, Liah. "Reflections on the Two Charismas." The British Journal of Sociology. 36, no. 1 (March 1985): 117-132.

Haley, Peter. "Rudolph Sohm on Charisma." The Journal of Religion. 60, no. 2 (April 198O): 185-197.

-------- "The Idea of Charismatic Authority: From Theology to Sociology." Ph.D. dissertation, University of Pennsylvania, 1980.

Huff, Toby E. Max Weber and the Methodology of the Social Sciences. New Brunswick, N.J.: Transaction Books, 1984.

Hughes, H. Stuart. Consciousness and Society: The Reorientation of European Thought, 1890-1930. Revised edition. New York: Vintage Books, 1961, 1977.

Le Bon, Gustave. The Crowd: A Study of the Popular Mind. Introduction by Robert K. Merton. New York: Penguin Books, 1977.

Levine, Donald. "Rationality and Freedom: Weber and Beyond." Sociological Inquiry. 51, no. 1 (1981): 5-25.

Marshall, Gordon. In Search of the Spirit of Capitalism: An Essay on Max Weber’s Protestant Ethic Thesis. New York: Columbia University Press, 1982.

Madsen Douglas, and Snow, Peter G. "Recruitment Contrasts in a Divided Charismatic Movement." American Political Science Review. 81, no. 1 (March 1987): 233-238.

Michels, Roberto. "Charismatic Leadership." In First Lectures in Political Sociology. Translated by Alfred de Grazia. New York: Harper Torchbooks, 1949, 1965.

Mitzman, Arthur. The Iron Cage: An Historical Interpretation of Max Weber. New Brunswick, N.J.: Transaction Books, 1969, 1985.

Mommsen, Wolfgang J. The Age of Bureaucracy: Perspectives on the Political Sociology of Max Weber. Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1974.

-------- Max Weber and German Politics: 1890–1920. Translated by Michael S. Steinberg. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1984.

-------- "Personal Conduct and Social Change: Towards a Reconstruction of Max Weber’s Concept of History." Pp. 35-51 in Max Weber, Rationality and Modernity. Edited by Scott Lash and Sam Whimster. London: Allen & Unwin, 1987.

Moscovici, Serge. The Age of the Crowd: A Historical Treatise on Mass Psychology. Translated by J. C. Whitehouse. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press/Paris: Éditions de la Maison des Sciences de l’Homme, 1985.

Rickert, Heinrich. The Limits of Concept Formation in Natural Science: A Logical Introduction to the Historical Sciences. (Abridged edition). Edited and translated by Guy Oakes. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1986.

Roth, Guenther. "Introduction" Pp. xxiii-cx in Max Weber, Economy and Society: An Outline of Interpretive Sociology. Edited by Guenther Roth and Claus Wittich. Translated by Ephraim Fischoff et al. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1978.

Roth, Guenther and Schluchter, Wolfgang. Max Weber’s Vision of History: Ethics and Methods. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1979.

Schluchter, Wolfgang. The Rise of Western Rationalism: Max Weber’s Developmental History. Translated with an introduction by Guenther Roth. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1981.

Schweitzer, Arthur. The Age of Charisma. Chicago: Nelson-Hall, 1984.

Searle, John. Minds, Brains, and Science. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1984.

Shils, Edward. Center and Periphery: Essays in Macrosociology. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1975.

-------- Tradition. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1981.

Sohm, Rudolph. "Ancient Christianity." Translated by Ernest Benjamin Koenker (unpublished translation of vol. 1 of Rudoph Sohm’s Kirchenrecht [available at the University of Chicago’s Regenstein library])

-------- Outlines of Church History. Translated by May Sinclair. New York: Macmillan, 1895.

Turner, Bryan S. Weber and Islam: A Critical Study. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1974.

Willner, Ruth Ann. The Spellbinders: Charismatic Political Leadership. New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, l984.

Wilson, Bryan R. The Noble Savages: The Primitive Origins of Charisma and Its Contemporary Survival. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1975.


1. Max Weber, Critique of Stammler, pp. 96-97. Although this is Weber’s position, it is not actually being presented as such at this location of the text. Hereafter, all references without an author are to Weber.

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2. Weber discusses the ideal type in "‘Objectivity’ in Social Science and Social Policy," pp. 89-112; Economy and Society (E&S), pp. 20-22; "Some Categories of Interpretive Sociology," passim.

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3. See Thomas Burger, Max Weber’s Theory of Concept Formation, p. 138.

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4. E&S, p. 29: "Important . . . in having an influence on human destiny" is probably a good, brief way of defining "value-relevant."

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5. "Some Categories," p. 155.

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6. In more philosophical language, "the preferred description of an action is determined by the intention in action. What the person is really doing, or at least what he is trying to do, is entirely a matter of what the intention is that he is acting with . . . . ‘Promise’ refers to whatever people intend as and regard as promises" (John Searle, Minds, Brains and Science, pp. 66, 78). This kind of definition does not apply just to actions: "‘Money’ refers to whatever people use as and think of as money . . . . [People] must have certain thoughts and attitudes about something in order that it counts as money and these thoughts and attitudes are part of the very definition of money" (Ibid, p. 78). To the best of my knowledge Searle is unfamiliar with Weber. Weber also speaks of social relationships (i.e., not just actions) as having a "meaning content" (Sinngehalt). Cf. Critique, pp. 109-10.

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7. On meaning in social relationships, see Critique, p. 109, as well as various places in E&S.

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8. Critique, pp. 107-8.

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9. Wirtschaft und Gesellschaft (W&G), p.16/E&S 31. The recently discussed "rules of engagement" for the US military fleet in the Persian Gulf are an example of highly explicit maxims. When a social relationship recurs or continues through time, the fairly mutually held initial meaning of the situation may impose itself as a maxim on later conduct of the participants (it is thus an "order"): "The ‘essence’ of what happens [in an initial economic ‘exchange’] is constituted by the ‘meaning’ which the two parties ascribe to their observable behavior, and this ‘meaning’ attached to their present behavior in turn represents the ‘following of a rule’ in their future behavior" (Critique, p. 109/Selections in Translation, p. 106; see also pp. 106, 109/pp. 109, 114). Throughout this paper translations found in E&S have been altered following the original German. This will be indicated by citing the W&G page first, followed, after a virgule, by the corresponding E&S page number. At other times, such as in this footnote, more than one existing translation has been compared or combined. This will also be indicated by separating the two sources by a virgule. On maxims, see Critique, pp. 99ff. The extent to which E&S has been inaccurately translated is quite astounding. Comparisons with the original German and with other translations is always is order for crucial passages. Among other problems, consistency of reference is often lost because formal terms are variously translated within one work. It is, of course, easier to criticize a translation than to make one.

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10. Critique, p. 130; see also pp. 129, 131, 132, 138, 139.

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11. E&S 33.

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12. Critique, p. 101, 103, and elsewhere.

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13. E&S 34. If there are no external sanctions against violators of an order, that order is a custom (E&S 29: "‘Custom’ refers to rules devoid of any external sanction").

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14. There are problems with translating Herrschaft as "domination." I will avoid the issue in this paper by adopting most common translation, "domination," even though I seriously considered using the word "command" (as a noun) since it seems closer to Weber’s definition. In "Some Categories of Interpretive Sociology" (p. 168) Weber writes: "‘Domination’ (Herrschaft) does not mean that a stronger elemental force somehow asserts itself; rather, it means that the action of those giving orders is related in meaning to that of those obeying, and vice versa, in such a way that both can ordinarily count on the realization of the expectations toward which they have oriented their action." The reader is simply forewarned that the "domination" is used as a term of art in Weberian discourse. Weber initially (in part 2 of E&S) introduces a broader use of Herrschaft, in which the domination discussed here is a subset. Within the larger category our domination is "domination by virtue of authority" as contrasted with domination by virtue of a constellation of interests.

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15. W&G 16/E&S 16. Hereafter I will on occasion represent whatever Weber meant by the two words "obligatory" and "exemplary" by the one word "binding," or by the pair of words "morally binding." (The word morally is added to distinguish what we mean from, for example, contracts that are binding legally, but which may have no moral force for any of the participants.) Weber is inconsistent in his narrower usage of the word "domination," sometimes using it to mean "‘legitimate’ domination." To avoid ambiguity I sometimes add "legitimate" where Weber only has "domination." For Weber’s definitions of "legitimacy," brief as they are, see E&S 215, 31, 33, 36, 903-4, 953, 263; "Some Categories," p. 177.

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16. Weber usually uses the word in the ordinary language sense, but sometimes he uses it elliptically to mean "widely taken to be legitimate." I will differentiate uses by adding scare quotes for when he is speaking elliptically.

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17. The occidental city is classified by Weber as "non-legitimate domination." Perhaps this is because obedience to the commands of the leaders was mainly based on self-interest.

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18. See "Politics as a Vocation," p. 79: "In reality, obedience is determined by highly robust motives of fear and hope." Tyranny is an "‘illegitimate’ domination."

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19. "Politics," pp. 78, 82-83; E&S 54-56, 903-5. The qualifying word ‘legitimate’ in this definition would seem to rule out calling a state a tyranny which monopolizes force "illegitimately." Such a conclusion, however, would seem to be contrary to Weber’s larger definitional intentions. The word "legitimate" here refers primarily (or at least) to the claims of the state rather than the beliefs of the ruled. A fuller description (as opposed to a definition) of the paradigmatic modern state can be found on E&S 56 and E&S 905: "The primary formal characteristics of the modern state are as follows: It possesses an administrative and legal order subject to change by legislation, to which the organized activities of the administrative staff, which are also controlled by regulations, are oriented. This system of order claims binding authority, not only over the members of the state, the citizens, most of whom have obtained membership by birth, but also to a very large extent over all action taking place in the area of its jurisdiction. It is thus a compulsory organization with a territorial basis. Furthermore, today, the use of force is regarded as legitimate only so far as it is either permitted by the state or prescribed by it." "As we consider them today, the basic functions of the ‘state’ are: the enactment of law (legislative function); the protection of personal safety and public order (police); the protection of vested rights (administration of justice); the cultivation of hygienic, educational, social-welfare, and other cultural interests (the various branches of administration); and, last but not least, the organized armed protection against outside attack (military administration)."

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20. E&S 954.

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21. W&G153/E&S 263. A more lucid but less literal translation of this passage is: "all dominations rest on the ‘prestige’ of the rulers, that is, on the subjects’ faith in them." In the chapter, "Political Communities", Weber wrote that: "The modern position of political associations rests on the prestige bestowed upon them by the belief, held by their members, in a specific consecration: the "legitimacy" of that social action which is ordered and regulated by them. This prestige is particularly powerful where, and in so far as, social action comprises physical coercion, including the power to dispose over life and death. It is on this prestige that the consensus on the specific legitimacy of action is founded" (E&S 903-4).

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22. E&S 214.

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23. Politics 1309b15; cf. 1294b36, 1296b16.

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24. W&G 122/E&S 213. What Weber rules out as insufficiently reliable here seem to be the four types of social action listed on E&S 24-26 (see also E&S 31-33). However, such an interpretation of this quote, in the context of the whole paragraph in which it is found, would require equating "value-rational" with "ideal," and "goal-rational" with "material." It would also suggest that there is a fifth kind of social action: legitimate social action.

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25. Weber actually used the word ‘valid’ (Gelten) here, which I take to be a technical mistake that, had he a computer, would have been corrected within his lifetime. Weber only makes sense if the word ‘valid’ (Gelten) is here synonymous with ‘legitimate.’ Weber uses the word often in both "empirical" and "axiological" senses (see Critique, p. 129 and passim). The word sometimes means in force or effective and, sometimes, legitimate or ‘legitimate.’ His choice here seems to have been unfortunate, since a few sentences earlier he uses the word (Geltung, actually) with a different meaning and a few sentences later he attaches exactly the same sense (as that attached to the second occurrence of ‘validity’) to the word ‘legitimacy’--as shown in the above citation. Similarly, Weber’s use of the word ‘legitimacy’ on E&S 33 appears to be mistaken. The context is only coherent if he means validity (in the "empirical" sense): the validity (rather than legitimacy) of an order can be bolstered inwardly (by emotional, ethical, or religious motives), or outwardly by the self-interest induced by the threat of informal or formal sanctions (conventional and legal, respectively). See above in the main text for a discussion of this topic. This interpretation is at variance with the translator’s footnote. Interestingly, Weber is critical of Stammler for confusing empirical and normative validity (E&S 32). Stammler’s confusion, unlike Weber’s, was not just stylistic, however.

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26. A parenthetical comment in this sentence has not been translated (by either me or E&S).

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27. W&G 16/E&S 31. This citation, by the way, indicates that it is incorrect to correlate traditional action with traditional domination, goal-rational (and value-rational) action with rational-legal domination, and emotional (and value-rational) action with charismatic domination. With respect to the substance of the quote, unlike on E&S 212-13 Weber does not here discuss value-rational or affectual motives.

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28. Weber wrote that, besides belief in legitimacy, people could be motivated to obey the commands of a leader out of "hope for reward in this world or the world beyond," as well as out of fear and out of "interests of the most varied sort" ("Politics, " p. 79; see "Some Categories," pp. 169, 176-77).

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29. "The Social Psychology of World Religions," p. 271.

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30. E&S 953; cf. E&S 491 and "Social Psychology," p. 276-77.

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31. "Status-legend" is used in "Social Psychology," p. 276.

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32. Political masters and apparatuses are not, it should be pointed out, the same as the Marxian "ruling class." To be a ruler one must have the ability to exercise a power of dependable command over others. Membership in a privileged estate does not necessarily accord such power to each of its members and the rulers do not necessarily act in the interests of a privileged estate.

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33. E&S 953. Weber himself offers another means of classifying political communities in "Politics" (p. 81): "according to whether they rest on the principle that the staff of men themselves own the administrative means."

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34. E&S 954.

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35. E&S 213.

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36. E&S 954. See also "Politics," p. 78ff; "Social Psychology," pp. 295-97.

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37. "Social Psychology," pp. 295-97.

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38. E&S 954.

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39. E&S 217-18.

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40. E&S 954.

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41. E&S 954.

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42. He also applied it in his historical studies of China, India, and the Hebrews.

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43. Selections, p. 230; E&S 1115.

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44. This definition restricts charisma to persons, although charisma can also be of things (E&S 400).

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45. In rare occurrences (as in the arrival of Cortez in South America; or Krishnamurti and the Theosophical Society), it may take much effort for a person to convince believers that he is not a divine being.

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46. Charismatic domination is to some extent a type of Aristotle’s ‘monarchy’, viz., kingship based on individual virtue and/or distinguished service (Politics 1310b31). Cf. also proto-tyranny based on willing subjects (1295a15). See the discussion of the aisymnetai.

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47. "Social Psychology," p. 295; "authority" was changed to "domination"; see Roth and Schluchter, p. 62 for dating. Much in this definition rests on the meaning of the word ‘extraordinary.’ The other fairly comprehensive definition, probably written within a year of Weber’s death, to some extent clarifies its meaning: "‘Charisma’ is a quality of [someone’s] personality which is esteemed as extraordinary (originally . . . magically determined), and because of which he is considered as having supernatural or superhuman or at least specifically extraordinary--i.e., not accessible to all others--powers or characteristics, or as being God-sent or exemplary (vorbildlich), and because of which he is the "leader." (W&G 140/E&S 241; cf. Luciano Cavalli, "Charisma and Twentieth Century Politics, p. 317). More lucidly, but less literally, this could be translated as: "‘Charisma’ is a quality of a person that is so extraordinary that it leads others to believe that he has powers or abilities that are supernatural, superhuman, or at least exceedingly rare; OR that he is sent by God; OR that he is worthy of emulation; OR, that as a result of these beliefs, he is accepted as their ‘leader.’" If this translation is accepted, the definition of "charisma" is more limited than the one I gave in the text, in that it requires a leader/follower relationship. To make this not required one would only have to change the "and" clause to a contingent fact about charisma, rather than an integral part of its definition, i.e., "‘charisma’ (typically) leads people to accept its bearer as a ‘leader.’" The German is ambiguous on the matter. The places where Weber gives full or partial definitions of charisma, in approximate chronological order, are: E&S (Sociology of Religion: 1911-13) 400 (2 places), 401; "Social Psychology," (1913) pp. 287, 295-97, E&S (Sociology of Domination: 1914?) 1111, 1122, 1135 1136; The Religion of China (1915) 30 (cf. mana, E&S 1133), 260-61 (cf. Ancient Judaism, p. 140 to connect with charisma); The Religion of India, (1916-17) p. 49; Judaism, pp. (1917-19) 128, 140; "Politics" (1919) pp. 79-80; E&S (part I: 1919?) 215 (cf. Ruth Willner’s alternative translation, The Spellbinders, pp. 205-6), 241.

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48. See Judaism, p. 18.

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49. "The legitimacy of their [charismatic leaders’] rule rests on the belief in and the devotion to the extraordinary, which is valued because it goes beyond the normal qualities, and which was originally valued as supernatural. The legitimacy of charismatic rule thus rests upon the belief in magical powers, revelations and hero worship. The source of these beliefs is the ‘proving’ of the charismatic quality through the welfare of the governed. Such beliefs and the claimed authority resting on them therefore disappear, or threaten to disappear, as soon a proof is lacking and as soon as the charismatically qualified person appears to be devoid of his magical power or forsaken by his god." ("Social Psychology," pp. 296-97). See Judaism, p. 99; cf. Le Bon, The Crowd, pp. 122-23, 137.

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50. Selections, p. 234; E&S 1119.

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51. All quotes in this paragraph are from W&G 661/E&S 1121. See Judaism (p. 112) which says that there can be no prophecy when the central administration is strong.

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52. Weber himself elsewhere lists great hunting expeditions, droughts, and especially the danger of war as such crisis conditions (E&S 11354; cf. Selections, p. 249).

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53. For discussions of unusual states of mind, see E&S 321, 946; Judaism, pp. 286-91.

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54. Cavalli ("Charisma and Twentieth Century Politics," pp. 324-5) makes this point by saying there must be a prevalent sense of "disintegration" along Parsonian lines for a situation to be charismatically relevant.

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55. Weber’s notion of the "extraordinary" bears some resemblance to Le Bon’s "prestige," Freud’s "idealization," and Durkheim’s "sacred." Durkheim, for instance, wrote (Elementary Forms of Religious Life, pp. 243-44): "We see society constantly creating sacred things out of ordinary ones. If it happens to fall in love with a man and if it thinks it has found in him the principal aspirations that move it, as well as the means of satisfying them, this man will be raised above the others and, as it were, deified. Opinion will invest him with a majesty exactly analogous to that protecting the gods. This is what happened to so many sovereigns in whom their age had faith: if they were not made gods, they were at least regarded as direct representatives of the deity . . . . In order to explain the consideration accorded to princes, nobles and political chiefs, a sacred character has been attributed to them. In Melanesia and Polynesia, for example, it is said that an influential man has mana, and that his influence is due to this mana." Durkheim’s explanation for this phenomenon differed from Weber’s, of course.

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56. E&S 401; Judaism, p. 98.

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57. "Social Psychology of World Religions," p. 297.

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58. W&G 188-89/E&S 322; cf. E&S 215 (here, as elsewhere, the translator gives a different English word for the same German one in a way which gives the appearance of incoherence. The two words used in all these places are Eingebung for inspiration and Einfühlung for empathy), W&G 123; E&S 946; cf. Judaism, pp. 286-96, esp. 286, 290-92, 294; On Universities, pp. 59-60/"Science as a Vocation," pp. 135-36.

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59. Judaism, pp. 11-12.

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60. Judaism, p. 41.

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61. Judaism, pp. 17, 18.

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62. His usages of "pure" and "genuine" are identical. Their meaning is not identical with "ideal type," however. The process of routinization is part of Weber’s ideal type of charismatic domination; so is clan charisma. But neither is part of his characterization of the pure or genuine type of charismatic domination. For "genuine charisma," see E&S 246 (W&G 142), 255; for "pure type," see E&S 246 (W&G 142), 247; for ideal type: 246 (W&G 142). But Weber may not have been terminologically consistent: see Selections, pp. 12, 23.

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63. The conventional translation, "routinization," can be misleading as "to routinize" has a meaning in ordinary English which is not the point of Weber’s term.

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64. Cf. Madsen, Douglas and Snow, Peter G., "Recruitment Contrasts in a Divided Charismatic Movement," p. 238.

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65. W&G 661/Selections, p. 235/E&S 1120.

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66. Selections, p. 235-36/E&S 1120-22, 251.

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67. Selections, p. 237/E&S 1122.

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68. W&G 661/Selections 235; E&S 1120.

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69. On the causes of routinization, see Selections, pp. 236-37 (E&S 1121-22); E&S 246; Selections, p. 235 (cf. W&G 661; E&S 1120; E&S 254).

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70. As mentioned below, Weber writes that "institutional structures" can have objectified charisma, but he does not elaborate. Process is less central to the idea of the depersonalization of charisma than is to the idea of routinization. Non-personal charisma or objective charisma is versachlichten Charisma in German.

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71. Weber also speaks of a "reinterpretation of charisma" (Umdeutung des Charisma) in showing how charismatic domination which is a "basically authoritarian principle" can be transformed into a democratic, anti-authoritarian structure (E&S 266-67; W&G 155, 156,157): "Die herrschaftsfremde Umdeutung des Charisma" (W&G 155f) and "die antiautoritäre Umdeutung des Charisma" (W&G 157).

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72. E&S 248/W&G 144.

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73. The German edition title corresponding to the English edition section "Discipline and Charisma" is "Die Disziplinierung und die Versachlichung der Herrschaftsformen." (W&G 681/E&S 1148). For partial definitions of Versachlichung des Charisma see E&S 248, 1139, 1143; cf. the corresponding W&G passages since much is lost in what are very unliteral translations.

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74. E&S 1135. "We are justified in still speaking of charisma in this impersonal sense only because there always remains an extraordinary quality which is not accessible to everyone and which typically overshadows the charismatic subjects. It is for this very reason that charisma can fulfill its social function. However, since in this manner charisma becomes a component of everyday life and changes into a permanent structure, its essence and mode of operation are significantly transformed" (E&S 1135).

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75. My understanding of the distinction between routinization and objectification is at variance with that of Reinhard Bendix in his Max Weber (p. 309n).

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76. A person can also have charisma just because he is of a special lineage (those endowing a family with charisma need not consciously connect the present day descendants with an original source of the family’s charisma).

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77. Some places where the concept of hereditary charisma is used in doing "history" are Judaism, pp. 11, 12, 16, 18, 19. "Hereditary charisma" (Erbcharisma) includes "clan charisma" (Gentilcharisma) and "dynastic charisma" (Hauscharisma). Erbcharisma is literally translated as "hereditary charisma" (see W&G 680/E&S 1147; W&G 144/E&S 248). Gentilcharisma is literally translated as "gentile charisma"; it has been translated as "lineage charisma," "clan charisma," "family charisma," and "charisma attributed to kinship," (see W&G 672/E&S 1137; The Religion of India, pp. 49-54). The word is related to gens (gentes is the plural), which means patrilineal clan (see Judaism, pp. 14, 20). Hauscharisma is literally translated as "house charisma"; it has been translated as "dynastic charisma" and "charisma of the house" (see W&G 672/ E&S 1137). See also Bendix, Max Weber, pp. 146n, 309. Original sin, the curses of Cain and Ham and similar situations could perhaps be considered negative charisma (see Judaism, pp. 35, 39).

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78. Judaism, pp. 11-12.

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79. As Le Bon (The Crowd, 136) put it: "[Napoleon’s] prestige outlived him and continued to grow. It is his prestige that made an emperor out of his obscure nephew."

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80. Judaism, p. 99.

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81. Edward Shils, Center and Periphery: Essays in Macrosociology, esp. chaps. 1, 6, 7, 15, 16, 21.

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82. E&S 1143ff. See also China, pp. 119ff.

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83. Judaism, pp. 94-95, 96ff.

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84. " . . . the institutional charisma of the church . . . " (E&S 1141). "A particularly important case of the charismatic legitimation of institutions is that of political charisma, as it appears with the rise of kingship" (E&S 1141).

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85. Durkheim, Elementary Forms, p. 244.

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86. "‘Objectivity’ in Social Science and Social Policy," p. 102.

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87. Such a study, using other ideal types, can be found in my "The Rise and Fall of Afrikaner Ethnicism in the Twentieth Century."

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