Theories Of Power, Authority And Legitimacy

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Introduction
In this reading report, it discusses the various perspectives about power, authority and legitimacy in the chapter titled Power, Authority and the State by Shaun Best. In this chapter Best draws various theories from a number of theorists that contributes to power, authority and legitimacy. From their perspectives, three have been chosen which are Anthony Giddens, Max Weber, and Michel Foucault. Their perspectives on the topic will be summarised and how power, authority and legitimacy can be seen in society that supports their theories.

Anthony Giddens – Modernity
In this chapter by Best, Anthony Giddens delineate the concept modernity and what that entails in the modern world as it can be seen in almost every aspect of life.
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“There are three assumptions that support Max Weber’s political analysis: the first being Economic Individualism, which is having economic freedom to buy and sell what one desired. The second assumption is Civil and political freedom that refers to one’s civil rights. The third is the Personal Autonomy and Responsibility; Weber believed citizens should be responsible for their own actions” (Best, 2001: 13).
“Weber emphasizes the importance between having power as authority and power as coercion, as it is believed that authority is the legitimate use of power” (Best, 2001: 13). People consent and carry out what is expected from them by the state or bureaucracy and therefore think that it’s acceptable to conform. Weber believes that every society is governed by someone who has
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Charismatic authority is solely based on the charisma of an individual that is seen as a leader and the individuals’ personality and character is essential. Traditional authority is when a title is transferred from one generation to the next through tradition and belief system. Rational legal authority is the legitimate power that is seen as acceptable by citizens because there are rules and set of laws that gives the state authority. Illegitimate power is a form of punishment centred/ coercion that citizens do not adhere too and go against the given rules. (Best, 2001: 14-15)
Michel Foucault
“Foucault emphasized on how power is the idea of struggle and the resistance and how power operates at all levels in society. Foucault mentions how people are mere test subjects for example he touches on how the state make use of resources to gather information about individuals, which he calls bio-power” (Best, 2001: 19-20). “There are three modes of objection that explain how people become subjects. The first mode is dividing practices which involve the exclusion of people who are seen as a threat to society. The second mode is the scientific classification, which focuses on the hierarchical observations. The third mode is subjectification, which focuses on citizen of society and everything else as being seen as a subject, it also emphasize
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