SOCA02H3 Lecture Notes - Charismatic Authority, Traditional Authority, Fidel Castro
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Lec 5 Politics
The polity employs power. It is an institutionalize sys that is put together by society and generally
accepted by society. It sets agenda for society where we are going. Politics is all about power. Nobody
disagrees on that every society rest on power; the ability to achieve ends despite resistance. Polity is
generally quite lenient . Ability is to achieve desired ends, this is called coercion. Exercise of power is by
government. State employ laws so they can save money on health sys e.g. put hamlet. That is referred
as “Nanny State” (if u ride a bicycle u must wear hamlet). Trend is to intrude more in sphere of lives. It
is increasingly becoming popular for the gov to tell wht to do. Income tax is about 112 years old;
politician always says it is temporary but it always stays there. Power can become legitimize. It becomes
an authority. Government get wht they want by threatening pple especially in democracy. The power to
converse is seen by most pple in democracy justified. It is difficult to operate effectively w/o some kind
of consensus. Ex. People in Syria are ready to die as people think that gov is illegitimate. If gov is
legitimize, it can turn power into authority. Three ways, power is legitimize:
Pple agree with how the power is run when it is legitimatize. When u legitimizes power, u
institutionalizes power. E.g. in Canada, gov can’t use power or conversion, only under special situation,
like an emergency e.g. in 1970 Quebec rights.
1) Traditional authority- we find it in tribal or feudal society basically it is there to institutionalize
power. Authority is inherited by way of family/clan. Or it can be derived from a religion.
2) Legal rational authority- where u run for election. When pple use the right way in democracy, society
give u the power. E.g old sovereign state- totalian state- state has total power. When state has total
power, pple can’t resist. Ex- 25 M people got killed in their state. Emperor Meur quoted– “let them hate
as long as they fear”. Eventually, sovereign union collapse and that was bcz it lacked legitimacy.
People call it dull continuity – people keep doing things in the same old way. Occupational structure
remains the same. That is why in England, name represents an occupation e.g. Smith, brick maker,
mason (stone maker), carpenter. The world we live in, we wanna do things diff from wht our parents
did. We see monarchy in the middle ages (rule of king and queen ). This was a traditional society. Kings
& Queens came up with doctrine & called it divine right of kings. This means that they are in charge
because god has picked them. They have done it this way time out of mind- that is why we call it dull
continuity. Traditional society- pple share the same world view. As division of labor inc, ur occupation
has big impact on the way u think. We get fragmentation in the occupation bcz of division of labor.
Tradition is long gone in today’s gov. However, we do find some tradition in modern world e.g. before
governor general is appointed, Queen has to sign the letter.
Another ex. Authority of parents over children. Traditional authority – parents give you an order ( no
explanation.) Another ex. Patriarchy is a traditional authority- rule of men over women. It is contested
particularly in Canada. Power in modern society is legitimatize by rational legal argument- law is rational
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and that is why we legitimize it. E.g. under traditional authority, you are born among aristocrat peerage
(who are ur equals). Peerage could only be tried by other aristocracies. Aristocrat can’t be in prison for
debt. If peerage were prisoned, they were put in a luxury suit (Tower of England). All pple stand equal
before the law. If u break the law, u will face consequences. Beginning of 2000, Bill Clinton was
impeached (legally prove that someone is unfit for the office) by congress because of Lewinsky’s
scandal. In bureaucracy, huge formal org dominated by rational legal authority. In chain of command,
CEO/Manager gives order to employees from diff levels. Pple accept the fact that each office is
regulated by rules and responsibilities. Sometimes rules are written down. Ignorance of law is no excuse.
In bureaucracy, if u born in aristocracy – u born to rule. Under legal authority- natural rank is tradition.
However there is no natural rank under bureaucracy meaning inferiority and superiority is determined
by performance. It is more rational to give pple a number. Rules are utilitarian (they are there to achieve
goals). Rules are meant to achieve that end in most rational way. They are meant to accomplish
something. Bureaucratic rule apply to all. Nobody is above the national legal rules in bureaucracy. Not
everyone in the large org has equal skills. Sometimes pple decide to remain generalist. A generalist is
one who can do a bit of everything. In Japan, they believe in generalist. They believe that all employees
should understand company as a whole. Authority is org specific. The boss can only control ur behavior
on the job.
3) Third type of authority is Charismatic authority. History is full of charismatic individuals; some of
them inspired by god. They can emerge during political revolution and throw away institutional politics.
They have qualities that stand out. Charismatic authority is volatile; it can rattle pple to do things that
they don’t normally do. It can turn the world upside down. Rational legal authority is abstract &
impersonal. Charismatic leader don’t pay attention to codified rules. People say that charisma is
irrational bcz it is highly personalize. However in our world of bureaucracy everything is rational. In
bureaucracy u get appointed on ur skill basis. Charismatic pple have “species magnetism” (pple follow
u). Charismatic individual have special gift. People find these individuals attractive, thus this charisma is
irrational (u can’t explain it). Ex. Adam Hitler – held Germany in the palm of his hand; pple fell for it. He
was diabolical – have intrinsically evil charisma. 55M dead pple during WWII & Germany still followed
Hitler on the end of the cliff. They bombed Germany into oblivion. Some nicer leaders were Mao, South
Africa leader Mandela, Gandhi (India). Charisma is a young person game e.g Fidel Castro (use to give 5
hour long speeches w/o prep), Che Guevar (from Latin American) etc. U can have political charisma e.g.
Neapolian. Neapolian was short in height but was attractive. Some have prophetic charisma- e.g
Guevara, Toa-Taoism, Moses- Judaism, Mohammed, Christian etc. Hinduism is one of the oldest religion
and its founders are relatively murky. Another ex is Mark Luther king who had combination of political
and prophetic charisma. Discipleship –pple follow leader with absolute devotion e.g prophets has this.
Judus means someone who is disloyal/stab u in the back. Prophetic leaders made the claim to be the
chosen one (Chosen by ultimate power). They posses miraculous powers (a “Messiah”). Charismatic
prophet offer new dispensation (new way of getting salvation/religion). Charisma bcz it is so
individualize is v. unstable. When these charismatic leaders die, Wht do people do? They routinize them
into the tradition. In the case of Christ, routinize is the Catholic Church; it is tradition and rational legal.
They take explosive energy, routinize it into tradition and rational legal authority. Bureaucracy can last
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