Power And Legitimacy Essay

1795 words - 8 pages

Introduction to political science
1) In political terms, power can be explained as the control one entity has over the other. Power is sometimes confused with the term 'influence'. Where power is the ability of make formal binding decisions, influence can be taken as a means through which that power is exerted. This may be due to intimidation, threats, logical reasoning, rational persuasion or lobbying.
Authority can be defined as a form of power. The difference lies within the ways through both power and authority is exerted. Where power is viewed as control through any means, authority has a moral character attached to it, and is based on a 'right to rule' notion, where the ruled see ...view middle of the document...

But some form of protest arises and the government uses sheer force to quash it, which is an example of power.

2) Weber classifies authority into 3 types. Traditional authority, charismatic authority and legal rational authority.
Traditional authority is the one in which there are pre-existing norms, customs and traditions which are followed simply because they have been present from generations. It follows a hierarchal system where status are allocated and the authority is bound by the existing customs and traditions. Patriarchy is a form of traditional authority in which the man of the family holds a dominant position. Similarly small town or villages where the elders make all the decisions is also another example of it. Monarchy is an example of traditional authority.
Charismatic authority is not owed to any office or status but solely based on an individual’s personal qualities or his charisma. In a political atmosphere this type of authority helps in creating loyalty for the leader. It is not necessarily God gifted but can also be cultivated through media image or polishing public speaking skills. As it does not come with any status, and there are no rules, this authority can often create the image of ‘total power’.
Legal rational authority is the third type which is mostly used in the organizations in modern society of today. It gives the authority to the office position instead of the office holder, and a set of clearly defined rules have to be followed. This way it is different than the traditional and charismatic form of authority and according to weber more preferable as well. This type of authority is clearly defined by a set of rules and anyone exercising this form of authority does so, by remaining under the boundaries of the law.
Another way through which authority can be identified is the distinction between de jure and de facto authority. An authority which can be traced back to an office or a status is de jure authority. Traditional and legal rational authority is an example of that. At times when authority cannot be traced back to a set of procedural rules is called de facto authority.
3) Legitimacy is the key difference between power and authority. It is the factor that creates the ‘right to rule’ notion and brings about compliance for an authority. It ensures that an order is obeyed out of compliance rather than out of fear.
4) Marx weber defined legitimacy as a belief in ‘right to rule’. He said that a rule is said to be legitimate if the governed party was willing to comply with a system of rule. However, David Beetham presented legitimacy as a concept which was very different from that of Marx weber. He said that if legitimacy was just about the ‘belief in right to rule’, then government bodies could easily manipulate the masses into thinking the rule was legitimate through extensive public relations campaigns. He proposed three ways which could identify power as legitimate. First, power has to be exercised...

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