Religious Legitimation of Power and the Concept of Theocracy

  • Maciej PotzEmail author


This chapter is devoted to theocracy, a type of a political system defined by its supernatural legitimation, not the rule of religious functionaries. It presents religion as a resource used to sanction political power on normative, institutional and personal levels—to sacralise it—in order to explain the existing social and political order with its unequal distribution of valuable assets, to uphold its institutional structure, and to justify the religious status the rulers claim. The origins and conditions of stability of theocratic regimes are explained with a transactional model derived from theory of social exchange. Thus conceived, theocracy can be incorporated into a three-dimensional typology of political systems—with mode of succession, scope of political control and the source of power’s legitimation as the leading variables—thereby gaining usefulness in political analysis.


Legitimation of power Sacralisation of power Social exchange theory Theocracy 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of International and Political StudiesUniversity of ŁódźŁódźPoland

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