SOC0005_Week08

SOC0005_Week08 - SOC 0005 - Week 8 Turner Chapter 18 &...

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Page 1 SOC 0005 - Week 8 Salvatore J. Babones Department of Sociology University of Pittsburgh Copyright 2007
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Page 2 Turner Chapter 18 - Government
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Page 3 POLITICAL SYSTEMS ARE ORGANIZED AROUND FOUR MAJOR BASES OF POWER IN SOCIETY • COERCIVE: the use of physical force in social relations SYMBOLIC: the use of symbols to reinforce legitimacy to rule • ADMINISTRATIVE: use of administrative structures to regulate and control • INCENTIVE: use of incentives to encourage or discourage specific behaviors
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Page 4 COERCION IS THE ULTIMATE BASIS OF THE POWER OF THE STATE • Actual coercion is rarely necessary - the threat of coercion is generally sufficient Rule by actual coercion is virtually impossible because of the number of enforcers (police, army) needed A credible threat of coercion is however necessary – When people believe that enforcers won’t use force, coercive regimes collapse • Use of enforcers from different ethnic groups is an ancient strategy Persian king Cyrus adopted this strategy around 550 BC – The Mongolian Ghengis Khan transferred soldiers to Europe from as far away as China Both Tsarist and Communist Russia used this strategy, resulting in many of the ethnic problems plaguing Russia today • Coercion is less effective in today’s post-industrial societies . . .
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Page 5 COERCION MUST BE CREDIBLE TO SUCCEED IN SOCIAL CONTROL
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Page 6 IN GENERAL, COERCION AS A BASE OF POWER DECLINES WITH LEVEL OF DEVELOPMENT - BUT HERE ONCE AGAIN THE US IS AN EXCEPTION Quality of life - crime - prison population OECD FACTBOOK 2005 a ISBN 92-64-01869-7 a a OECD 2005 Convicted adults admitted to prisons Number per 100 000 population, 2000 0 50 100 150 200 250 300 350 400 450 500
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Page 7 SYMBOLIC SYSTEMS HAVE LONG BEEN USED TO REINFORCE COERCION • Crowns, scepters, fasces, and other symbols of royalty have existed in all agricultural societies One of the most famous cultural symbols commissioned by royalty is the Bayeux Tapestry – About 250 feet long, it commemorates the 1066 Battle of Hastings – It legitimized William of Normandy’s conquest of England • Even democracies like the United States make extensive use of symbolic systems of legitimation . . .
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Page 8 US DEMOCRACY MAKES EXTENSIVE USE OF LEGITIMIZING SYMBOLS I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the republic for which it stands, one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all
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Page 9 ADMINISTRATIVE STRUCTURES EMBED POWER HIERARCHIES INTO THE FABRIC OF SOCIETY • In agricultural societies, administrative bases of power were often built on a simple pyramid model Individuals report to lords who report to overlords who report to kings, etc. – A familiar example of this is the feudal system of medieval Europe
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SOC0005_Week08 - SOC 0005 - Week 8 Turner Chapter 18 &...

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