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The State and Political Authority- Politics.docx

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Political Studies
POLS 110
Kim Richard Nossal

The State and Political Authority - No state able to perform these varied functions by power (or influence) alone - Authority is crucial - If nobody obeyed the state, the state would be powerless and therefore collapse - Importance of supreme political authority: Who is entitled to command, and who obligated to obey? Supreme Political Authority - In antiquity, locus of supreme political authority located in particular institution/individual: - Nswt, oba, basileus, archon, imperator, pontifex maximus, consul - However, the idea of supreme political authority is not well articulated The Modern State - Supreme political authority as an articulated idea - Emergence of ideology of supreme political authority: - The idea of sovereignty What is Sovereignty? - Self governing - The ability of a state to do what it wants without external pressure - Having no higher authority - The ability to fundamentally govern the community What Sovereignty is Not - The ability to make decisions indigenously (rather than be ruled by others) - This is independence - The ability to make decisions as one pleases (to do what we want) - This is autonomy The Puzzle - Why can we say that the following were all independent and autonomous but not sovereign: - Carthage in 600 BCE - Athenian empire in 430 BCE - Rome in 77 BCE - Frankreich in 772 CE - T'ang Dynasty in 900 CE - Ngati Whatua iwi in 1400 CE The Solution - Starting over - Looking at sovereignty as an idea that emerged in Europe - At a particular era in time - Grew out of the contradictions of the feudal way of organizing political authority The Feudal European Order - Authority organized? - Local authority: - "International" (or pan-European) - Church as state - What sustained the feudal order? - Religious - Economic - Military technology - Cosmological (their view of the cosmos). Very limited understanding for the world they lived in Collapse of Feudalism - Various changes - Religious changes, began with views which challenged the Roman church (that it was corrupt and overly decadent) - Economic changes - Military changes -The importation of gun powder technology from China and the the invention of cast-iron canons - The cosmological/intellectual/ideational changes - A rebirth of Greek/Roman ideas that were either suppressed or forgotten about, which now would be embraced - Also, a rediscovery of the green and roman idea that political power comes from human behaviour - The printing press on conduct of policies - The monopoly of the church's control over literacy is broken - All these changes were inte
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