POLI 100 Chapter 2.docx

6 Pages
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Department
Political Science
Course Code
POLI 100
Professor
Christopher Erickson

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Description
Chapter 2Political Power Authority and the State What is Power The ability to make others do somethingthat they would not have chosen to do Power and Authority Central concepts in politics Those in power can often set an agenda so it is important to understand how power works Power if often equated with coercion Authority is often linked with consent Alternatives to the Use of Coercion Rule through ideological control Manipulation of the preferences of the ruled to reflect the interests of the ruler Eliminates the need for constant surveillance Associated with elitist thought and Marxist critiques of capitalism Conversion of power to authority Attempt to make the ruler legitimate in the eyes of the ruled To do this requires an understanding of the basis of authority Example of the distinction between power and authority the Supreme CourtoThe Supreme Court has very important powers in the Canadian political system because of its established right to determine whether or not the laws made by the elected members of the federal parliament and the provincial legislatures are constitutional oHowever members of the Supreme Court themselves are not elected they are appointed by the Prime Minster and remain on the bench until the age of 75oThe Court itself has not army or police force to enforce its decisions As a result in order for decisions to be accepted without the threat of coercion the court relies on its authority oArguably the Supreme Court would almost certainly lose its authority and therefore its legitimacy if too many of its decisions were too far out of line with public opinion oSupreme Court justices are therefore constrained by the need to maintain the legitimacy of the Court as an authoritative institution in the Canadian policyHow is legitimacy decided Some exercise of power in necessary even in a democracy since the decisions taken by a majority will always leave a minority who may be resentful that their views did not prevail Unfortunately the distinction between authority and power is further clouded by the reality that in many cases authority is granted to institutions or individuals precisely because they have power Webers 3 Types of Authority Traditional Authority based on traditional customs and values such as divine right of kings according to which monarchs were ordered by God to rule Charismatic Authority based in the personal characteristics of the ruler often associated with authoritarian and totalitarian societies since charismatic leaders tend to emerge at times of crisisThis form of authority is less important in modern liberal democracies where authority tends to be based on status of the office rather than personal qualitiesHowever charisma still plays some part particularly now that the media image of leaders is central to their approval ratings their fundraising ability and their power to pass legislationIn Webers view charismatic authority is unreliable since the disappearance or discrediting of this individual will immediately lead to instability Legalnational Authority based on the status of either the rulers office as part of a system of constitutional rules in a democratic country or a religious text such as Koran in Islamic regimes Power or Authority Although they can be treated as separate all governments make use of both power and authority
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