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Sociology Lecture #18.docx - Sociology Lecture#18 Thursday...

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Sociology Lecture #18 Thursday June 15 th, 2017 Politics and Government Politics - the social institution that distributes power, sets a society’s agenda, and makes decisions Sociologists look at who holds power in society and how that power is used According to Max Weber every government tries to legitimate itself in front of its citizens o Power allows you to achieve what you want to despite resistance from others o Sometimes governments try to maintain power with brute force, however it is more commonly done through trying to achieve respect and obedience from its citizens o Theory of authority Authority - power that people perceive as legitimate rather than coercive Weber’s Authorities Traditional authority - power legitimized by respect for long- established cultural patterns o Common in pre-industrial societies with a focus on tradition o Given power because its always been that way (ex: Monarchy or Royalty) o Respecting parents because they are your parents o Power derived through whiteness or patriarchy Rational-legal authority - power legitimized by legally enacted rules and regulations o Unlike traditional authority, this authority is found in formally enacted laws o Authority rests in offices or positions the people hold rather than people themselves Charismatic authority - power legitimized through extraordinary personal abilities that inspire devotion and obedience o Much more dependent on a person’s personality o Usually those leaders who lead through charismatic authority tend to be controversial o Movement based on this leader is difficult to survive because it is inherently unstable o Must go through a process of routinization of charisma and turning into rational or traditional authority Political Systems Little to no broad governance in hunter gatherer societies As cities grew politics became city states and these states characterized the modern world Monarchy - a type of political system that transfers power from generation to generation in a single family
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o Popular in ancient agrarian societies o Modern ones are more constitutional with involvement from people o Queen Elizabeth in England is a symbolic head of state, whereas those elected into the system get formal votes Democracy - a political system in which power is exercised by the people as a whole o Considered to be representative rather than fully participator o Leadership and authority ends up in the hands of the few o Most industrialized nations claim to be democratic and democracy requires literacy o Rational-legal authority: you have power because you are elected into the office that you hold o Many bureaucracies have appointed systems (ex: Senators in Canada aren’t elected) o Not everyone in a democratic society have the same sway and there tend to be more social stratification o False sense of political freedom however economics are in the driver seat o Association of democracy and freedom (defined as political liberty, free market, etc) o
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