WEEK 7 Soc 203 Feb. 25 2013
Church: moral standing of church has changed over the years. The accusations towards priests and all
Attempts to cover up and all
Perfect illustration of erosion of moral authority when it comes to an institution
Political authority and public opinion authority
Public opinion: should it rule? Can it be trusted?
More wisdom residing within public opinion than there is in the hands of poiticians and leaders.
If you study history you know there are times hwere the people have been swayed.
Think of how many poor leaders have been elected democratically.
When we look at authority and public opinion we must ask questions.
o Should public opinion have greater authority than kings.
While there is erosion of religious authority today there are still other typed of authority
Question of authority is still with us today.
Question of authority in Iraq after the second Gulf war.
Scenario that emerged after the US invasion.
When bush said the war was over peace and security did not return to Iraq
Lots of terror bombings which killed civilians, kidnappings, etc.
Conflict between the Suni (Sadam Hussain) and Shia Islams. Many people said they felt safer
before the Americans showed up.
wrote in Englans in the 16 hundreds at the time of the civil war in England. Hobbs provides
justification for a strong sovereign. This justification rides on a preoccupation with peace and
security. His main premise is when there is no strong authority a state of anarchy exists, where
each individual strives for the most power.
Sacrifice freedom for sovereign. A contract of sacrificing individual freedom to the sovereign and
in return I gain peace and Security.
o He was writing at a time where the king was contested.
o Lived in times of death and hard times. He comcluded it was better to live under a
sovereign than a state of anarchy (insecurity warfare loss of life)
o He’s saying if we don’t relinquish all our freedoms to an absolute power we don’t have
Hypothesis: grain of truth: think about: if we don’t sacrifice some of our freedom then we stand
to lose when it comes to safety security and peace of mind.
May disagree that an absolute authority is needed to have peace and security.
After American invasion of Iraq there was American authority which was contested.
Widespread looting in major cities the day after Americans took over. No one gave the US soldiers authority to arrest looters, this created a loss of respect to US
First mistake: not performing a police role.
Second mistake: the political party associated with the regime of Sadam Hussain was the Baath
party. They tried to remove these people from positions of authority. However these people all
had experience and so by eliminating these people all of the know how is also lost. Another
drawback: Americans created over 50 000 smart well connected opponents to their presence.
Americans also disbanded the ministry of the defence of the interior. This ministry of interior is
one of the most powerful ministries: control of police and armies. Often control of internal
Overnight they created over 3000 unemployed police authorities.
Trying to illustrate some of the concrete ways authority is upheld. How is authority created and
maintained if you are an occupying force?
This example illustrated that political authority becomes much more salient after it is removed.
Nihilism: latin word nehil: for “nothing” the belief in nothing as opposed to absence of belief.
Dos Deyefsky: 1821-1881
Grand inquisitor talks about the evils inflicted on children
Crime and Punishment about university student who commits a double murder. Most of the
novel is the world from this students point of view. Falls in love with a prostitute. Dos deyefsky
shows that prostitutes who is deemed not pure is a kind of saint because she lives this murderer
unconditionally. This murder converts his way in prison because of Sonya’s (the prostitute)
Deyefsky describes a nihilist state of mind he saw spreading thru the Europe of his day, the kind
of emotions, disorientations and emptiness that comes from nihilism.
Good description of what happens when there is no authority.
Fear within which Tocqueville lived.
No confidence in authority of group of the individual
You can see why the authority of opinion was also called into question.
What we have in mind when weber talks about the probability that a demand will be obeyed.
2 forms of domination:
Obedience due to a threat fear upon a person or property
Obey because they believe in the rightfulness of the command. They believe the command
ought to be obeyed as it is the correct way to do things.
More technical word for rightness: legitimacy
3. Legitimacy and legitimation
The rightness of rule. Legitimation is the process by which this rightness is implicated. Often thru symbols,
ceremonial means, religion, or the idea the decision is right because the person is of noble
decent or in our society is made by a freely elected individual of power.
Café owner in Italy – pay money to the state, also pay money to the mafia
Paying money to the mafia is a form of coercion.
Turning money over to the state