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Chapter

max weber and more


Department
Sociology
Course Code
SOCA01H3
Professor
Mc Kinon

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Politics
1. Max Weber on Power, Legitimacy and authority
-in antiquity a messenger would come and tell the ruler of bad news and the ruler
would say kill him (kill the
messenger)
a) Power
-sociologists disagree on how to define it
-decides what society will do and where it is going
-the ability to achieve desired goals despite resistance (Weber)
-coercion - using force to get what you want
-exercise of power is the business of gov
-state is made of of various institutions that create and carry out policies
-regulates citizens in civil society (the private spheres of life)
-the ability to control others and dist of resources
-when most ppl agree on raw power it becomes authority
-authority is legitimate power and institutionalized
-rule of succession - how does somebody else take over power?
-elections
b) Legitimacy
-power becomes legitimized and then becomes authority
-transforming power into authority (Weber)
-most societies seek to transform power into authority/legitimate power
-in Egypt right now, power lacks legitimacy
c) Authority
-how is power transformed into authority - 3 ways:
(i) Traditional

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-inherit authority through fam, plant ties, or monarchy
-son of king gets to be king
-exception = Queen Elizabeth
-pre industrial; pre modern
-power legitimized for respect of long standing customs
-ppl consider social arrangements to be sacred -> feudal europe called the
arrangement of society the
golden chain that is pre ordained by god. They are sacred
-monarchy/the throne (old monarchy; today it is just constitutional, no power)
-Devine Rights of Kings -> king is gods representative on earth
-attempt to legitimized kingly power
-church controlled the ceremony that made a king into a king
-breaks down with industrialization/modernization/secularization
-get a more diversity of outlooks; under tradition most ppl have same views/thinking
-as cultural diversity sets in tradition breaks down
-tradition leads to rational legal
-in Cnd -> prime ministers don’t claim to rule by the grace of god = no tradition
-in our politics -> governor general is someone recommended by the prime minister
by the
queen (doesn’t really mean anything though, a nod in the direction of tradition)
-gov general opens parliament and performs traditional ceremonies
-the authority of parents over children is traditional (time out of mind - so long ago
we can’t remember
when it started)
-patriarchy is traditional
-religion is traditional authority
(ii) Rational Legal

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-typical of modern societies
-laws are said to be rational and laws govern how ppl can achieve, transfer and use
power
-ie elections every 5 yrs here
-applied equally to everybody, at least in principle (the law says that the law should
be equally applied)
-in tradition, the law is unequally applied; in medieval england piers could be only
be tried by
his piers but commoners didn’t have that right
-if a pier was thrown into prison, he could bring all his servants with him; piers could
not be imprisoned for debt (why they had a hard time borrowing money from ppl b/c
of this - they wouldn’t pay the
money back b/c they knew they couldn’t be punished)
-when authority becomes legal it becomes legitimized in the codification of the law
-an anglo fetish, english were meticulous about codify law
-constitutions codify laws - every citizen has fundamental rights like the right of
assembly; right
of speech; freedom of conscious (religious beliefs are your own business)
-equality for the law has posed prob for political leaders -> Clinton was impeached
(trying to prove that
person is unfit for office) by republicans on the basis that he broke a law when he
lied under oath that he had sexual
relations with monica lawinski and therefore needed to be punished according to
the law; the law applies equally to
presidents as everyone else
-Rob lagouavich -> impeached by a state legislature
-prime ministers and presidents are answerable to the law; kings and queens
weren’t, saw themselves as
above the law
-aka Bureaucratic authority
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