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Lecture 7

SOC203 Lecture 7 Authority .docx

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SOC203: Lecture 7: Authority Position Paper: talk to TA and ask if this is an argument; better argument; not just summary; Make Introduction last (going to write about where we’re going to go); Authority:  Authority of church has been sapped, cases of child abuse, problem is not only with the mistreatment of children by priests, but the way in which the institution responds to these cases  Erosion of moral authority (because the Church is supposed to uphold right behaviour) and the gap between what it should be upholding and how it actually does  The kinds of authority we’ll be looking at is authoritative and political  Authority of nobility around them (in French revolution)  erosion of political authority and rightness (and rightness of rule)  Authority of public opinion  Should public opinion rule? Should it be trusted? More wisdom in public opinion than in the hands of a few political leaders; some who put a great deal of faith in public opinion; but in history, the populace has been swayed by emotion, demigods, superstitions; think about how many poor leaders have been elected democratically; shouldn’t that give us cause in refraining from praising the public opinion. So what is the nature of this public opinion in terms of reason? Rationality? Prejudice? Or can it be trusted. Should public opinion have greater authority than leaders who are born (kings?)  To what extent does a conqueror have authority? Perhaps because it believes that the ideology of the conqueror is bringing civilization, enlightenment; The question of authority clearly is still with us today  Question of political authority: a contemporary example o Look at the question of authority in Iraq after the second gulf war o Words ‘peace and security’ o Civilians thought peace and security was worse after Americans came o Hobbes  wrote in England in 1600s about the Civil war in England provides justification for a strong sovereign (incl. peace and security); a state of anarchy exists where each individual strives for as much power as possible (clearly not a situation where there is peace and security) Hobbes claims that such a situation is frightening, and that the best solution that an individual can find is to sacrifice their freedom to a greater power (sovereign) and the deal/contract is this: I sacrifice my freedom to sovereign, but in return I get security (to achieve peace, I give sovereign absolute authority to make law)  Thought it was better to live like this than to live in a state of anarchy  He’s making strong claims (we don’t relinquish all our freedom to an absolute power, then we don’t have safety)  Perhaps there’s a grain of truth to Hobbes and also an error:  Grain of truth: That if we don’t’ sacrifice some of our freedom, then we stand to lose safety, security, peace of mind) we completely relinquish it  Error: An absolute authority is needed  Question: do we have to give up all of our freedom to get this good thing? :S Seems like a lot. o After Americans came into Iraq, it was contested by Shia? The Curds? Kurds? Kirds? >< (contesting authority of Americans) o After Americans came, there was a lot of looting (important treasures in museums were looted, universities vandalized)  No one gave the authority to Americans to arrest  Americans lost respect  couldn’t provide safety for looting  Americans  military role, not a policing role  The ruling party was the Bach party; the Americans wanted to remove positions of authority that held allegiance to Bach party. The number of people who lost jobs were 30 000-50 000 (civil servants who lots government jobs)  A conqueror would want to remove old regime, that’s understandable. Presumably, these people who were removed, had a wealth of experience (you can’t just put up experience) and that’s a cost; was that cost worth paying?  Another drawback: Americans created 30-50 000 jobs overnight.  Americans disbanded the ministry of interior (we don’t have it in Canada; Ministry of interior and Ministry of Defense; Ministry of interior is one of the most important/powerful ministry  spying internally, power over police forces, separate from other police forces in the country;  Overnight, thousands of soldiers out of jobs; so who to replace them?  It takes years to build up a police force and authority (gone overnight)  Nihilism (Nothing) o Etymology: nihil= Latin words for nothing o ‘The belief in nothing, as opposed to absence of belief. The word has been used in English since at least 1817, but gained currency later on account of the Russian nihilists.’ o ‘The basic idea was that, since society is founded on lies, and all moral, religious and humanitarian beliefs are just instruments of concealment, all beliefs and values must be torn down and the disposition to hope and worship be eliminated, so that the world could be seen as it really is. For some reason it was thought that things would then be better for the people.’  Roger Scrouton. A Disctinoary of Political Thought p379 Situating Authority: 1. Power  Sometimes people will conform to someone’s wishes without necessarily being issued a command  In talking about power, it’s useful to contrast power in the Weberian (?) sense with the idea of the influence. (Someone could have their will fulfilled without necessarily commanding other people to do certain things) 2. Domination  The probability that a command will be obeyed  Two forms of domination: 3. (A) Coercion obedience due to threat, fear of harm to self, and personal property (b) Authority  Believe the person issuing the command is correct and the command is the correct way to do things 4. Legitimacy and legitimation  Legitimacy the rightness of rule  Legitimisation  the process by which that rightness is implicated; often through symbols (i.e. flags, ceremonial, religion, the idea that a decision is right because the person making that decision is of noble descent)  A practice in Italy  pizzo (involves turning money over the to the Mafia, it’s protection money)  this is coercion and illegitimate power vs. another practice where shop owner pays money to Italy (in the form of taxes, a form of respect of authority but
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