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Unformatted text preview: 5 Political Obligation and Revolution UNIT 14 POWER AND AUTHORITY Structure 14.0 Objectives 14.1 Introduction 14.2 Power: Meaning of the Concept 14.2.1 Distinction Between Power and Related Themes 14.2.2 Implications of Power 14.3 The Power Theory 14.3.1 Liberal Democratic Theory 14.3.2 Marxian Theory 14.3.3 Michael Foucault on Power 14.4 What is Authority? 14.5 Classification of Authority 14.6 Distinction between the Concepts of Power and Authority 14.6.1 Implications of Authority 14.7 Let Us Sum Up 14.8 Key Words 14.9 Some Useful References 14.10 Answers to Check Your Progress Exercises 14.0 OBJECTIVES The unit deals with the most significant area of fundamental research; namely, Power and Authority. It is the central theme of political ideology. After going through this unit, you should be able to: • Understand the concept of power in its varied ramifications • Differentiate between power and related themes • Explain the concept of authority and identify its types • Understand the relative meaning of Power and Authority 14.1 INTRODUCTION Recently, the idea of power has assumed an importance of its own, in the realm of political theory. This is so because the meaning of politics has changed from one of being a ‘study of state and government’ to that of being a ‘study of power’. Power is the primary objective of foreign policy. In international relations, power is the capacity of a state to influence or control the behaviour of other states for the purpose of promoting its own vital interest. Power capacity includes skills and techniques in the use of consent and constraint, as well as the ability to persuade, threaten or coerce to gain ascendancy over other states. States vary notably in power capacity. Belgium and Switzerland are probably evenly matched, but the mismatch between Belgium and United States is apparent. Some states are characterized as ‘haves’ and the others as ‘have-nots’. The former are well endowed with the assets of power, while the latter seek to better their position at the expense of the “haves”. This situation gives power struggle its essential character. 6 Power, Authority and Legitimacy We all know what power is, in a broader sense. Although we see it everywhere in our lives, it is hard to define. While doing social and political theory, we try, however, to make the concepts of power and authority more precise and clear. It is with these basic concepts and definitions, we can later understand the other complex concepts in the realm of national and international politics. 14.2 POWER: MEANING OF THE CONCEPT Power is seen in different walks of life— in the structures of government administration, bureaucracy, elections, family and society. In the instances of a teacher scolding an erring student in school, to a powerful state making war against its neighbor or any terrorist organization bombing a target, power is used. So it becomes imperative to see what exactly is common in these examples and how they justify the concept.see what exactly is common in these examples and how they justify the concept....
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This note was uploaded on 03/13/2012 for the course IR 101 taught by Professor Harfancoofers during the Spring '12 term at Sunway University College.
- Spring '12