Chapter 14 - Chapter 14 Politics Political sociologists...

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Chapter 14 – Politics Political sociologists analyze the distribution of power in society and its consequences for political behavior and public policy. Sociological disputes about the distribution of power often focus on how social structures and especially class structures, influence political life. Some political sociologists analyze how state institutions and laws affect political behavior and public policy. Three waves of democratization have swept the world in the last 150 years. Societies become highly democratic only when their citizens win legal protections of their rights and freedoms. This typically occurs when their middle and working classes become large, organized, and prosperous. Enduring social inequalities limit democracy even in the richest countries. War and terrorism are means of conducting politics by other means. Introduction The Tobacco War The tobacco war raises the question that what lies at the heart of political sociology. What accounts for the degree to which a political system responds to the demands of all its citizens? Political sociologists have often answered this question by examining the effects of social structures, especially class structures, on politics. Power and Authority Power: the ability to control others, even against their will Authority: legitimate, institutionalized power Legitimate Government: a government that enjoys a perceived right to rule Power is institutionalized when the norms and statuses of social organizations govern its use. These norms and statuses define how authority should be used, how individuals can achieve authority, and how much authority is attached to each status in the organization.
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Types of Authority Traditional authority: the norm in tribal and feudal societies, involves rulers inheriting authority through family or clan ties. The right of a family or clan to monopolize leadership is widely believed to be derived from the will of a god. Legal Rational Authority: typical of modern societies. It derives from respect for the law. Laws specify how one can achieve office. People generally believe these laws are rational. If someone achieves office by following these laws, people respect their authority. Charismatic authority: based on belief in claims of extraordinary individuals to be inspired by God or some higher principle. Political revolution: the overthrow of political institutions by an opposition movement and replacement by new institutions. Types of political system Political sociology is mainly concerned with institutions that specialize in the exercise of power and authority. State: consists of institutions responsible for formulating and carrying out a country’s laws and public policy Civil society: the private sphere of Social life Autocracies and Authoritarian States Autocracy: absolute power resides in the hands of a single person or party Authoritarian: sharply restricts citizen control of this state
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This note was uploaded on 05/31/2008 for the course SOCIOLOGY 001 taught by Professor Lovaglia during the Fall '07 term at University of Iowa.

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Chapter 14 - Chapter 14 Politics Political sociologists...

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