• Politics is the social institution that distributes power, sets a society’s goals, and makes decisions
• Government is a formal organization that directs the political life of a society
Max Weber’s Transformation of Legitimate Authority in 3 ways
1. Traditional Authority
• Power legitimized by respect for long-established cultural patterns (pre-industrial societies)
• Declines as societies industrialize
• Also a source of strength for patriarchy (the domination of women by men)
2. Rational Legal Authority
• (sometimes called bureaucratic authority) Power legitimized by legally enacted rules and regulations
• Power legitimized in the operation of lawful government
• Bureaucracy is the type of organization that dominates in rational-thinking, modern societies
• The same rational worldview that promotes bureaucracy also erodes traditional customs and practices
• Rationally enacted rules also guide the use of power in everyday life
• Comes not from family background but from a position in government organization
3. Charismatic Authority
• Power legitimized by extraordinary personal abilities that inspire devotion and obedience
• Depends less on a person’s ancestry or office and more on personality
• Charismatic leaders often make their own rules and challenge the status quo
• Because charismatic authority flows from a single individual, the leader’s death creates a crisis
• Survival of a charismatic movement requires the routinization of charisma, the transformation of charismatic authority into some combination of traditional and bureaucratic authority
4 Categories of Political Systems
• “one ruler” (Latin/Greek)
• a political system in which a single family rules from generation to generation.
• Commonly found in the ancient agrarian societies
• During the Middle Ages, absolute monarchs in much of the world... [continues]
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