Legitimation or legitimization is the act of providing legitimacy. Legitimation in the social sciences refers to the process whereby an act, process, or ideology becomes legitimate by its attachment to norms and values within in given society. It is the process of making something acceptable and normative to a group or audience.

Legitimate power is the right to exercise control over others by virtue of the authority of one's superior organization position or status.


Power and influence

For example, the legitimation of power can be understood using Max Weber's traditional bases of power. In a bureaucracy, people gain legitimate use of power by their positions in which it is widely agreed that the specified person hold authority . There is no inherent right to wield power. For example,a president can exercise power and authority because the position is fully legitimated by society as a whole. In another example, if an individual attempts to convince others that something is "right", they can invoke generally accepted arguments that support their agenda. Advocacy groups must legitimate their courses of action based on invoking specific social norms and values. Invoking these norms and values allows the group to proceed in a rational and coherent manner with the expectation that their subsequent behavior is legitimated by the norms and values which guide their organizations.

Family law

Legitimation can also be used as a legal term where a father of a child born out of wedlock becomes the child's legal father. Prior to legitimation, the child is said to be illegitimate. Once a child has been legitimated, he or she is entitled to all of the benefits from that father as he or she would if that man had been married to the child's mother at the time of the child's birth. The father is responsible for providing support to the child and the child is entitled to inherit from the father.

Canon Law

Legitimation is a term in Roman Catholic canon law to remove the canonical irregularity of illegitimacy for candidates for the priesthood.[1]

See also


  1. ^  "Legitimation". Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. 1913. 

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  • légitimation — [ leʒitimasjɔ̃ ] n. f. • 1340; de légitimer ♦ Action de légitimer; son résultat. 1 ♦ Vx ou hist. Reconnaissance des pouvoirs (d un souverain, d un envoyé). Par ext. Légitimation des pouvoirs. 2 ♦ Dr. Bénéfice par lequel la légitimité est conférée …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Legitimation — • The canonical term for the act by which the irregularity contracted by being born out of lawful wedlock is removed Catholic Encyclopedia. Kevin Knight. 2006. Legitimation     Legitimation …   Catholic encyclopedia

  • legitimation — Legitimation. s. f. La grace que le Prince fait à des enfants naturels, en les declarant legitimes & leur donnant certains privileges dont ils ne pourroient jouïr autrement. Obtenir des lettres de legitimation. faire passer des lettres de… …   Dictionnaire de l'Académie française

  • Legitimation — Légitimation Demande de traduction Nom original ici → …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Legitimation — Le*git i*ma tion ( m[=a] sh[u^]n), n. [Cf. F. l[ e]gitimation.] [1913 Webster] 1. The act of making legitimate. [1913 Webster] The coining or legitimation of money. East. [1913 Webster] 2. Lawful birth. [R.] Shak. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • legitimation — mid 15c., from M.Fr. légitimation, from M.L. legitimationem (nom. legitimatio), noun of action from pp. stem of legitimare (see LEGITIMATE (Cf. legitimate) (adj.)) …   Etymology dictionary

  • Legitimation — (v. lat. Legitimatio), 1) die Handlung, durch welche ein Subject die für irgend ein Verhältniß erforderliche Beschaffenheit als in seiner Person zutreffend nachweist, so daß er dadurch in Beziehung auf das fragliche Verhältniß als qualificirt u.… …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

  • Legitimation — (neulat.) bedeutet den Nachweis und insbes. das urkundliche Beweismittel dafür, daß jemand Träger des von ihm geführten Namens sei, Inhaber der von ihm ausgeübten Befugnis (z. B. zu jagen, fischen, hausieren), Vertreter dessen, für den er… …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

  • Legitimation — (neulat.), Beglaubigung, Nachweis der Berechtigung zu einer Handlung, Ausweisung über seine Persönlichkeit, auch die Urkunde, durch die dies geschieht. Im bürgerlichen Recht die Ehelichmachung eines unehelichen Kindes, und zwar entweder durch… …   Kleines Konversations-Lexikon

  • Legitimation — Legitimation, 1) im Allgemeinen Rechtfertigung, Ausweis der Berechtigung. 2) Aufnahme unehelicher Kinder in die Stellung u. Rechte der ehelichen durch nachfolgende Verehelichung der Eltern (l. per subsequens matrimonium) od. auch durch… …   Herders Conversations-Lexikon

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