Power and Legitimacy

In: Social Issues

Submitted By ayma95
Words 1795
Pages 8
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 the authority as legitimate and take it as a moral obligation to obey it. Authority is essential for the ruling governments. They can maintain order in the society by sheer use of force and coercion but stability and peace can only be achieved through willing compliance otherwise chaos would follow. However, authority by some, is also viewed as an idea which threatens the notions of liberty and democracy.
The idea of Authority and Power can be distinguished in theory. Authority is followed without any means, as it is seen as a moral obligation by the ruled party however power is exerted through either persuasion or force. But in the practical terms both of these terms overlap and it is difficult to distinguish them both. An authority will not be influential unless it is backed by power. A leader is said to be in authority when he has the support of his followers who follow him blindly but that authority is backed up by the power the leader holds by rewarding them through promotion and punishing them by firing them. Same is the case with power. There has to be some form of authority for power to be influential.
Example of an authority can be a government rules and regulations where…...

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