SOC 100 Chapter Notes - Chapter 11: North American Free Trade Agreement, Charismatic Authority, Welfare Capitalism
Course CodeSOC 100
ProfessorA L L
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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
o Legitimate power is called authority; power that people accept
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,
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
• 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
o Those who are elected to Congress may cross party lines.
Example: Democrats vote for legislation proposed by the
• Third parties sometimes play a role in US politics but to gain power
they must support these centrist themes.
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