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Lecture Notes from the second half of SOCA02

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Malcolm Mac Kinnon

Politics 1. Max Weber on Power, Legitimacy and authority -in antiquity a messenger would come and tell the ruler of bad news and the ruler would say kill him (kill the messenger) a) Power -sociologists disagree on how to define it -decides what society will do and where it is going -the ability to achieve desired goals despite resistance (Weber) -coercion - using force to get what you want -exercise of power is the business of gov -state is made of of various institutions that create and carry out policies -regulates citizens in civil society (the private spheres of life) -the ability to control others and dist of resources -when most ppl agree on raw power it becomes authority -authority is legitimate power and institutionalized -rule of succession - how does somebody else take over power? -elections b) Legitimacy -power becomes legitimized and then becomes authority -transforming power into authority (Weber) -most societies seek to transform power into authoritylegitimate power -in Egypt right now, power lacks legitimacy c) Authority -how is power transformed into authority - 3 ways: (i) Traditional -inherit authority through fam, plant ties, or monarchy -son of king gets to be king -exception = Queen Elizabeth -pre industrial; pre modern -power legitimized for respect of long standing customs -ppl consider social arrangements to be sacred -> feudal europe called the arrangement of society the golden chain that is pre ordained by god. They are sacred -monarchythe throne (old monarchy; today it is just constitutional, no power) -Devine Rights of Kings -> king is gods representative on earth -attempt to legitimized kingly power -church controlled the ceremony that made a king into a king -breaks down with industrializationmodernizationsecularization -get a more diversity of outlooks; under tradition most ppl have same viewsthinking -as cultural diversity sets in tradition breaks down -tradition leads to rational legal -in Cnd -> prime ministers dont claim to rule by the grace of god = no tradition -in our politics -> governor general is someone recommended by the prime minister by the queen (doesnt really mean anything though, a nod in the direction of tradition) -gov general opens parliament and performs traditional ceremonies -the authority of parents over children is traditional (time out of mind - so long ago we cant remember when it started) -patriarchy is traditional -religion is traditional authority (ii) Rational Legal -typical of modern societies -laws are said to be rational and laws govern how ppl can achieve, transfer and use power -ie elections every 5 yrs here -applied equally to everybody, at least in principle (the law says that the law should be equally applied) -in tradition, the law is unequally applied; in medieval england piers could be only be tried by his piers but commoners didnt have that right -if a pier was thrown into prison, he could bring all his servants with him; piers could not be imprisoned for debt (why they had a hard time borrowing money from ppl bc of this - they wouldnt pay the money back bc they knew they couldnt be punished) -when authority becomes legal it becomes legitimized in the codification of the law -an anglo fetish, english were meticulous about codify law -constitutions codify laws - every citizen has fundamental rights like the right of assembly; right of speech; freedom of conscious (religious beliefs are your own business) -equality for the law has posed prob for political leaders -> Clinton was impeached (trying to prove that person is unfit for office) by republicans on the basis that he broke a law when he lied under oath that he had sexual relations with monica lawinski and therefore needed to be punished according to the law; the law applies equally to presidents as everyone else -Rob lagouavich -> impeached by a state legislature -prime ministers and presidents are answerable to the law; kings and queens werent, saw themselves as above the law -aka Bureaucratic authority -chain of command -> as you move up the chain authority increases and vice versa going down -generally superiors in the chain see to it that subordinates follow procedures -inferioritysuperiority not traditional, it is based on achievement (traditional is about being born into the position) -ascription vs achievement -rules are utilitarian -> used to achieve goals -rules apply equally to everyone - gives rules legitimacy -tests and exams can lose their legitimacy if cheating becomes widely known and practiced -ppl specialize (division of labour) -> ppl develop their skills in a given area by focusing their energy in a particular area -work specificuthority applies most to ppl at the top of the organization
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