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Chapter 11

SOC 100 Chapter Notes - Chapter 11: North American Free Trade Agreement, Charismatic Authority, Welfare Capitalism


Department
Sociology
Course Code
SOC 100
Professor
A L L
Chapter
11

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Chapter 11 Politics and the Economy
Politics is always about power and authority
Weber points out that we perceive power to be either legitimate or
illegitimate.
o Legitimate power is called authority; power that people accept
as right
o Illegitimate power is called coercion; power that people do not
accept as right
The government, also called the state, claims a monopoly on
legitimate force or violence.
Weber points out that the state claims both the exclusive right to use
violence and the right to punish everyone else who uses violence
Example: If someone owes you $100, you cannot take the money by
force yet the state can.
Weber identifies three sources of authority: traditional, rational-legal,
and charismatic
o Authority (legitimate power) : power that people consider
legitimate, as rightly exercised over them
o Coercion (illegitimate power): power that people do not
accept as rightly exercised over them
o State (country): a political entity that claims monopoly on the
use of violence in some particular territory known as a country
Traditional Authority is the most common basis for authority. Custom
dictates basic relationships.
Rational-Legal Authority (bureaucratic authority) is refers to matters
agreed by reasonable people and written into law. Rational
meaning reasonable and legal means part of law.
Charismatic Authority is based on an individual’s outstanding traits
which attracts followers. Example: Joan of Arc
o Traditional and Rational-legal authorities oppose this type of
authority because of their ability to inspire followers to
disregard their current authorities
o Unlike traditional and rational-legal authority, charismatic
authority has no rules of succession which is usually built on the
leader making arrangements for orderly transition of power by
appointing a successor.
o A second strategy for the transfer of authority is to build an
organization which develops rules and therefore transforms into
a rational-legal organization. Weber calls this routinization of
charisma. Example: The transfer of authority in Cuba after Fidel
Castro became ill.

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Types of Government
City-states came into being when societies grew and cities evolved
Each city-state had its own monarchy: a king or queen whose right to
rule was passed on to the monarch’s children.
Democracy: A government whose authority comes from the people
Direct Democracy: A form of democracy in which the eligible voters
meet together to discuss issues and make their decisions
Representative Democracy: A form of democracy in which voters
elect representatives to meet together to discuss issues and make
decisions on their behalf
Citizenship: The concept that birth and residence of naturalization in
a country imparts basic rights
Universal Citizenship: The idea of everyone having the same basic
rights by virtue of being born in a country (or immigrating and
becoming a naturalized citizen).
Dictatorship: A form of government in which an individual has seized
power
Oligarchy: A form of government in which a small group of
individuals holds power; the rule of the many by the few.
Totalitarianism: A form of the government that exerts almost total
control over people. Example: When Hitler was in control of Germany
With today’s access to electronic communications, people are no
longer ignorant of whether they are more or less politically privileged
than others. The U.S Political System
During the Civil War, two parties dominated U.S politics: the
Democrats and the Republicans.
o The working class cleans toward the Democrats, and wealthier
people toward the Republicans
o Deeply committed democrats support legislation that transfer
income from those who are richer to those who are poorer or
that controls wages, working conditions, and competition
o Deeply committed republicans oppose such legislation
Primaries: Pre-elections where voters decide who will represent their
party.
o Those who are elected to Congress may cross party lines.
Example: Democrats vote for legislation proposed by the
republicans
Third parties sometimes play a role in US politics but to gain power
they must support these centrist themes.
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