Lecture Notes (3-10-09) - Today Power Authority and the...

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Today: Power, Authority, and the State Last time: Aging Politics: The social institution that distributes power, sets a society’s agenda, and makes decisions. Power (Weber) Power—the ability to achieve desired ends despite resistance Exercising power is the business of government—a form of social organization that directs the political life of a society Weber’s Views on Authority Weber—Governments and brute force (use armies) Authority—Power that people perceive as legitimate rather than coercive (e.g. voting vs. force). Three ways to convert power from raw power into more stable authority. Traditional Authority Power legitimized through long-established cultural patterns May seem almost sacred Declines as societies industrialize, as less people share one view (immigration, modern scientific viewing) Rational—Legal Authority Power legitimized by legally enacted rules and regulations (Office has inherent power; not the individual themself) Charismatic Authority Power legitimized through extraordinary personal abilities that inspire devotion and obedience Ex: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
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