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SOCA02H3 Lecture Notes - Carcinogen, New Age, Mass Society

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Malcolm Mac Kinnon

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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
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?
b) Legitimacy
-power becomes legitimized and then becomes authority
-transforming power into authority (Weber)
-most societies seek to transform power into authority/legitimate 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
-monarchy/the 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 industrialization/modernization/secularization
-get a more diversity of outlooks; under tradition most ppl have same views/thinking
-as cultural diversity sets in tradition breaks down
-tradition leads to rational legal

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-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 b/c of this - they wouldnt pay the
money back b/c 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
-inferiority/superiority 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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-paradox -> to be in upper management you have to behave a certain way, make enough
money, dress a certain way
(iii) Charismatic
-under tradition things remain the same -> dull continuity
-shattered traditional sys and in the 20th c shattered a rational legal sys in Germany
-can be revolutionary/get rid of tradition/rational legal authority
-based on claims of extraordinary indiv who often say they are inspired by God or some higher principle
-challenge traditional institutions and make new ones
-rational legal authority is abstract, rules apply to everyone, impersonal; charismatic is highly
personalized, attaches to one indiv
-aka irrational
-ppl are appointed/become leaders in charismatic situations b/c they possess special gifts of body and
-ppl find this person to be v attractive and persuasive
-first become a leader through special indiv qualities vs rational legal where an indiv becomes a
leader b/c they follow the rules
-their special gifts arouse emotions
-personal qualities give charismatic authority its legitimacy
-can only define it by its consequences; cant teach somebody to be charismatic
-species magnetism - some ppl have v magnetic presentation of self
-younger = better
-hard to be charismatic under a rational legal sys ie when Obama ran for presidency he was v
charismatic but he will never be able to maintain it b/c his record is subject to public scrutiny; hard to keep charisma
-political charisma
-Hitler -> overturned rational legal authority in Germany; diabolical charisma
-Mao -> China; mobilized millions of ppl to throw down their lives for him
-Guaverra -> allied to Castro
-Profetic religious charisma
-charismatic profits
-Buddha - Buddhism
-Tao - Taoism
-Moses - Judaism
-Muhammed - Muslims
-all had a revolutionary impact on global history
-had disciples
-gains legitimacy through tremendous magnetism and his powers are said to be
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