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SOC203H1 Lecture Notes - Gulf War, Social Contract, Bourgeoisie

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W7 SOC 204H
Can be of different kinds religious authority [the Vatican and the church
experiencing an erosion of authority with the child abuse cases]
Authoritative opinion: The authority of public opinion/ should it be ruled,
should it be trusted? In history we can see that the thought of people has
been swayed. Public opinion vs. emotion vs. it’s level of authority (born into
it or gaining it)
Political authority: Erosion of authority during the E.U revolution [a political
authority] a regime in which the rightness of rule has been hauled into
question. Think also of coloniasm [to what extent that the conqueror have
Political authority
The question of authority in Iraq after the 2nd Gulf war
Peace and security did not return in Iraq after being invaded by US
Hobbes: provides justification for a stronger sovereign a state of Anarchy where
people strive for power and on their guards against others such a situation is
frightening and the best solution is to sacrifice their freedom to higher power
(sovereign) for gain security and peace.
Better to live under a sovereign then to live under a state of Anarchy
Truth: if we don’t sacrifice some of our freedom, we stand to lose safety and
security and peace of mind. False: an absolute authority is needed to get
these things we cherish (do we have to give up all of our freedom to get good
In Iraq there was a figure of authority, but it was contested and inconsistent
After the lose of authority (when US conquered) their was a lot of looting
which the US army did not prevent
The political party associated with the Saddam Hussein regime was
removed from the authority and the number of people who lost jobs were
enormous [but these people who were removed, you also lose all the
know-how, and it that loss worth it]
The ministry of interior [one of the most powerful and have lots of
control]/ so the US also dispensed the ministry of offence and of the
interior and a lot of jobs lost but then who would enforce law and
So when an occupying force, how is authority maintained or recreated? Political
authority becomes much more salient after occupation (we realise that it is pretty
Authoritative opinion
Nihilism: the belied in nothing
Situating authority
1. Power: be able to carry out ones will/ sometimes people conform to one’s
wishes without necessary issuing a command/ keep in mind the idea of
2. Domination: the probability that a command will be obeyed. There are 2 form
a) Coercion: obedience do to a threat
b) Authority: believe in the rightfulness of the command
3. Legitimacy and legitimation: rightness of rule and the process trough which that
rightness is provided
4. The function of authority?
Alexis de Tocqueville
“What sorts of despotism democratic nations have to fear?”
1. Democracy as value recruited in the army for grounds that democracy was
threatened/ in our society democracy is painted as the opposite of evil we
comply that democracy is strong but it’s only a system of rule and should be
taken accordingly
a. Supposed to provide government/
2. Democracy as system of rule
3. Social contract theories
Hobbes - when surrounding our freedom we gain security/ sees a state of
nature with competition/
Rousseau state of nature, people live in a state of similarity where everyone
is the same/ surrender part of a freedom to the people who are the seat of
authority, and sovereignty remains among people.
So both talk about people entering into contract to improve their welfare/ and
both exist in some state of nature/
4. Tocqueville on the authority of pubic opinion in the US
Under conditions of democracy, it’s difficult to not be a conformist and
part from public opinion the tyranny of the majority
The authority of a state that is too powerful
Old regime the monarchy and to move to a democracy we have the
state and the citizens. BUT - The functional analogue of the intermediate
power in the monarch regime are not there in a democracy
Centralization- concentration of power in the hands of the state [this
takes away from people]/ the political values
Tocqueville is an aristocrat, and freedom is not a value he cherishes
Marx: not an idealist/ ideas are grounded in material reality which is class
relations/ and talks about why certain idea authoritative?
- The ruling ideas of an age are the ruling ideas of a class/ what a ruling
class does is doing things to convince others that it’s in their own interest
to be ruled by them (the bourgeoisie convinces the proletariat to believe
that rule by bourgeoisie is in it’s own interest and that capitalism is best
for it)
- *A descendent ruling class is able to convince other that it’s own interest
are those of others as well
relationship between equality and authority