This preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.View Full Document
Unformatted text preview: 16 Power, Authority and Legitimacy UNIT 15 LEGITIMACY Structure 15.0 Objectives 15.1 Introduction 15.1.1 Reference to the Nature of Public and Political Authority 15.1.2 Authority is Legitimate Power 15.1.3 Authority and Legitimacy: Both Descriptive and Normative 15.1.4 The Problem of Political Obligation 15.2 Towards a Historical Understanding 15.2.1 Divine Conception of Political Authority 15.2.2 17th Century: Challenges to the Divine Conception 15.2.3 Social Contract Theories 15.2.4 Montesquieu’s Alternative Views on Legitimacy 15.2.5 Rousseau: Going beyond Montesquieu 15.2.6 Karl Marx’s Views 15.3 Max Weber and his Typology of Authority Systems 15.3.1 Weber and the Belief in Legitimacy 15.3.2 Weber’s Ideal Types 15.3.3 David Beetham’s Critique of Max Weber 15.4 Habermas and the Legitimation Crisis 15.4.1 Crisis Tendencies 15.4.2 State Action During Crisis 15.5 Let Us Sum up 15.6 Keywords 15.7 Some Useful References 15.8 Answers to Check Your Progress Exercises 15.0 OBJECTIVES The ideas of authority and legitimacy are integral to the understanding of state, politics and civil society. We must bear in mind that authority and legitimacy are reflective of the manner in which the political community is organized. All human organizations are based on a set of rules. Authority and legitimacy refer to how and why these rules are acknowledged by members of the community as being worthy of obedience and having a binding character. In the sections which follow, we shall explore the manner in which these concepts have been understood in various strands of political thought and how they serve as tools for understanding modern state and society. The sections are followed by questions to enable you to check your progress. A list of further readings is given at the end of the lesson. 15.1 INTRODUCTION Authority and legitimacy have been among the most basic and enduring issues in political analysis. Political philosophers, political scientists and sociologists have for long occupied themselves with exploring these concepts as useful tools for understanding public authority and government. These concepts must, however, be seen as having evolved over the last few centuries, constituted and reconstituted at particular historical conjectures. They can, thus be, seen as reflecting the various strands, which have historically contributed to their evolution. 17 Political Obligation and Revolution 15.1.1 Reference to the Nature of Public and Political Authority Before we examine these various strands, let us first bear in mind that both authority and legitimacy refer to the nature of public and political authority. All human societies, as mentioned earlier, live by rules, which give them cohesion and a distinctive identity....
View Full Document
- Spring '12
- Political Philosophy, ........., political obligation