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SOC203H1 Lecture Notes - Traditional Authority, Proletariat, Charismatic Authority

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Politics as a Vocation - MAX WEBER
What do we understand by poliics?
o Comprises any kind of independent leadership in action
o Today we only wish to understand politics by means of leadership, or
the influencing of the leadership, of a political association.. of a state
Ultimately state can only be defined in terms of means peculiar to it
o Physical force
Weber agrees that every state is founded on force - means specific to the
o Concept of state will be eliminated otherwise
o Today, State = human community that (successfully) claims the
monopoly of the legitimate use of physical force within a given
territory. (territory is a characteristic of state)
If the state is to exist, the dominated must obey the authority claimed by the
powers that be.
o Three inner justifications/basic legitimations of domination
1) The authority of the “eternal yesterday” – traditional
domination exercised by the patriarch and the patrimonial
prince of yore
2) Authority of the extraordinary and personal gift of grace -
“charismatic” domination (war lords, political party leaders)
3) Domination by virtue of “legality – servants of state, by
those who bear power that resembles him.
The three pure types of legitimation mentioned above are rarely found in
o Problems belong to political science
Calling second type of authority
o The leaders are personally recognized as the innerly “called” leader of
men. People obey them because believe in him
How do the politically dominant powers manage to maintain their
o Organized Domination - requires that human conduct be conditioned
to obedience towards those masters who claim to be the bearers of
legitimate power. Also requires control of the personal executive staff
and the material implements of administration.
The staffs also have personal interests: material rewards and
social honor. And the fear of losing them makes them faithful
followers of the ruler
Weber focuses his analysis on "political organizations", i.e. "states", and
identifies two general forms of the state, supposedly encompassing all state
forms at the most general level:
o The administrative staff beneath the ruler in status and power has its
own means of administration separate from those of the ruler. This
can include various forms of wealth and possessions, as well as
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