ProfessorMalcolm Mac Kinnon
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Lecture 6 and 7—Politics
oPolitics—power: decides what the society is going to do (max weber). Power is coercive.
Government—political life of the society
Sociologists are concerned with those using this power and authority
Civil society—private spheres of life (democracy)
oWeber on power: power is legitimized which gives the authority to the government to do
anything it wants.
set up to control the distribution of resources, who gets what, when and how
oWhen a majority of people agree on who is to be give the right to power, it becomes an
oInstitutionalization of power built into the society
most societies try to legitimize the power
Egypt—power lacks legitimacy
Canada—conservatives—plurality—45% of the votes.
rule of succession: the way in which someone takes over power from someone else. Power=
oSilvio Berlusconihad sex with a 17 yr old girl (Italian prime minister)
oElection—transfers power from one regime to another
oIf there are no rules of succession then there would be problems with legitimacy
oWEBER—How is power transformed into authority ?
1. traditional authority —tribal, feudal, inherited authority through family or monarchy
monstrous regiment of women—queen Elizabeth
-respect for long standing customs. People consider social arrangements to be sacred
“the golden chain”—monarchy--transferred from generation to generation
monarchy: traditional, today just institutional monarchy is left which has no power. In the
past though, the king was treated as god’s representative on earth (“the divine right of
kings”). The church argued against this, thus it was given the ceremony of introducing the
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traditional authoritydeclined coz of industrialization and secularism
modern era: people think differently
tradition no longer works as there is a lack of rational legal autority
for example in Canada the PM doesn’t claim to ‘control by the grace of god’
minor role of tradition in politics: when choosing the governor general. But the GG too is
chosen by the PM, the queen has to approve too
patriarchy—traditional POWER OF MEN OVER WOMEN. Lasted thousands of years.
2. Rational legal authority:
laws made by authorities. It tells governments how people achieve and use power. Rational
law treats everyone equally, unlike tradition which applies it unevenly. Increased legitimacy
when power becomes legal—“codification of law”anglo-fedish constitutions made laws in
which every citizen was given the right of freedom of speech. In Canada, no hate speech can
be made by law. Freedom of conscience- your religion is your business
Impeachment: trying to prove that the president has done something wrong and they aren’t
fit for the office (e.g. Clinton)
Rod Blagojevich the state legislature ruled against him and was thrown out of the office
PM and President are answerable to law but queens and kings aren’t answerable to anyone
- Rational-legal is also known as bureaucratic authority. E.g utsc
Chain of command—as you go up the chain of authority, the authority possessed increased.
On the other hand if you go down the authority decreases. This type of authority is superior
only because it gives a fair opportunity to everyone to rule and is not through natural order.
- Rational legal: achievementreward
- utilitarian—utility—bureaucratic rule, used to achieve goals-applies to everyone
- Bureaucratic rulesequal. Thus cheating is decreased
rational-legal: division of labor, people develop their skills because they focus narrowly on
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