Max Weber-----Politics as vocation
Politics is the concept is extremely broad and comprises any kind of independent
leadership in action.
We wish to understand by politics only the leadership, or the influencing of the
leadership, of a political association, hence today, of a state.
Sociologically, the state cannot be defined in terms of its ends. Association which have
been the predecessors of the modern state. Ultimately, one can define the modern state
sociologically only in terms of the specific means peculiar to it, as to every political
association, namely, the use of physical force.
Every state is founded on force,' said Trotsky at Brest-Litovsk.
If no social institutions existed which knew the use of violence, then the concept of 'state'
would be eliminated, and a condition would emerge that could be designated as 'anarchy,'
Of course, force is certainly not the normal or the only means of the state--nobody says
that--but force is a means specific to the state.
Today, however, we have to say that a state is a human community that (successfully)
claims the monopoly of the legitimate use of physical force within a given territory. Note
that 'territory' is one of the characteristics of the state.
The state is considered the sole source of the 'right' to use violence. Hence, 'politics' for
us means striving to share power or striving to influence the distribution of power, either
among states or among groups within a state.
He who is active in politics strives for power either as a means in serving other aims,
ideal or egoistic, or as 'power for power's sake,' that is, in order to enjoy the prestige-
feeling that power gives.
Like the political institutions historically preceding it, the state is a relation of men
dominating men, a relation supported by means of legitimate (i.e. considered to be
If the state is to exist, the dominated must obey the authority claimed by the powers that
First, the authority of the 'eternal yesterday,' i.e. of the mores sanctified through the
unimaginably ancient recognition and habitual orientation to conform. This is 'traditional'
domination exercised by the patriarch and the patrimonial prince of yore.
There is the authority of the extraordinary and personal gift of grace (charisma), the
absolutely personal devotion and personal confidence in revelation, heroism, or other
qualities of individual leadership. This is 'charismatic' domination, as exercised by the
prophet or--in the field of politics--by the elected war lord, the plebiscitarian ruler, the
great demagogue, or the political party leader.
Finally, there is domination by virtue of 'legality,' by virtue of the belief in the validity of
legal statute and functional 'competence' based on rationally created rules. In this case,
obedience is expected in discharging statutory obligations. This is domination as exercised by the modern 'servant of the state' and by all those bearers of power who in
this respect resemble him.