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Lecture 2

POL 1101 Lecture Notes - Lecture 2: Charismatic Authority, Avocation, Final Analysis

Political Science
Course Code
POL 1101
Wolfgang Koerner

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21/09/16 - POL 1101 - Lecture 2
Notion of the State - Modern State
Ancient greeks = Direct Democracy
Today = Indirect Democracy
Any discussioné understanding of politics revolves around understanding of state
Can distinguish b/w state and civil society
1) State
2) Nation States
Today state is used loosely
This is done w/out proper understanding
State = human community that claims the monopoly of the legitimate use of physical
force w/in a given territory
Right for other inst to use phys force is allowed only to the extent that the
state sanctions it
State = sole source of the right to use violence
Politics is describing to share power/ describing to share the distribution of power
Politics is by nature competitive
Those involved in politics strive for power (for good use or for power for powers
People often simply engage in politics for the prestige
If the state is to exist then the dominated must obey the authority claimed by the powers
that be
Why do people obey?
What inner justifications/ What external means does this domination rest?
Max Weber
Argues that there are 3 justifications/legitimations of domination
1) Authority of the eternal yesterday: morals that are … (get rest from
2) Authority of extraordinary and personal gift of grace: Charisma
a) This is a charismatic domination: by prophet or by demigod
b) leader of the citizens - obey b/c they believe in the leader
c) Ex. Hitler, Jesus, Mohammed
3) (Most important) Domination by virtue of legality
a) Legal, Rational, Authority
b) One obeys on basis of rationally created rules, b/c of rule
of law - modern state
Pure types of authority are rarely found, however Legal, Rational
Authority is found most often
Pres or PM is where legal, rational authority comes to a head
However they are not entirely in control
Separation of Administrative staff from the material means of
officials is complete
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In the modern state those administering state good do not have a claim to them
The state is smth that exists independent of all the officials
Weber also argues: In modern state poli may be practiced as an Avocation or
Politics is an Avocation
For these people poli is a hobby
In this sense poli assoc is a means for furthering private gain
Politics as a Vocation
Two ways
Live for politics
Live off politics
While the two may be distinguished they’re not necessarily mutually
May either enjoy naked possession of power or believe that life has
meaning in the aid of a cause
Three qualities for being successful politicians acc to Weber
Make a significant contribution
Must have passion
Feeling of responsibility
Sense of proportion (Common sense)
Proportion is the decisive quality of a politician
A politician has to be able to distance themselves from events and others
Need a sense of perspective and realism
Weber is not interested in utopian schemes
These are able to carry on their activities w/out perspective
Final analysis, politics is made with a head not with a heart
However true politician should always have a passion for its cause
Always important to keep the two in balance
Proper sense of proportion keeps one from commit two deadly sins of politics:
Lack of objectivity and responsibility - they are tempted to commit these through
Here the politician becomes concerned w/ impression they create and not the
Machiavelli: If a prince is to be successful he must have a persona that is like
Legitimate to pursue power- but the pursuit of power for powers sake is a distortion fo
the purpose of politics, in the end the work of a power politician will be no work
For poli action to have meaning and substance there must be a cause
Weber: What is the ethical foundation of political practice
Distinguishes b/w to differing
An ethic of ultimate ends
Asks that we do right, and leaves the results w/ the lord/ others
Consequence of actions are assigned to someone else
An ethic of responsibility
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