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Comparative Politics: A Global Introduction by Michael J. Sodaro Third Edition Chapter 4: “Power”. Presented for Instruction by Angela Oberbauer, M.A. Updated 2011. Define What Power is? (pp. 98-115). Power is the capacity to effect outcomes.
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Presented for Instruction
by Angela Oberbauer, M.A.
it is an ability that someone possesses, e.g.
U.S. President; or some powerful inanimate object,
e.g. the atomic bomb.
--Primary Elites = 1% of population:
Government officials--Presidents, cabinet ministers, legislators, judiciary (refer to
--Secondary Elites - ca. 2-5% of population:
Heads to major corporations and business,
Leaders of trade unions, important interest groups, religious authorities, politically influential journalists and academics.
How does the society see government?
--as an authority,legitimate, elite, coercive?
1. Competition for positions of governmental authority
2. Competition for influence over what government officials do.
3. Relationships between elites and populations.
When is Power Relational? When it involves a relationship between a “power holder” and “someone else” over whom the power holder has some kind of power, e.g. Dominance and Influence.
Power as Dominance exercised? Is the maximum degree of political power exercised by government officials (dictators), or by nongovernmental groups or individuals (white Americans before the Civil Rights Movement).
Power as Influence exercised? The capacity to affect outcomes indirectly or partially, e.g. government decisions, actions, or behavior without fully controlling them (the U.S. President).
The Power Elite in the United States? C.Wright Mills 1950s (p.101). The “Warlords”, the “Political Directorate” and the “Corporate Chieftains” (refer to Mills in Danziger/Rejai II, and know also “The Ruling Class” defined by Gaetano Mosca, et al in early the 1920s - 1939).
Check these Power Elites out at your class website POSC 103, click on “References/Sources” button, and then click on the PowerPoint lecture
How much Power the Governing Elites Have depends on what?
e.g. Magna Carta 1215 signed by King John at
Democracies? are based on principle of the rule of law: the legal authority of states and its officials is limited by the law, and that no one is above the law (p.104).
Autocracy? means one-person rule:
Oligarchy? rule by a few (Communist leadership after death of Stalin in 1953).
Totalitarianism? a form of authoritarianism in which the government controls/dominates politics, the economy, and society.
secure mass mobilization (e.g. Nazi Germany, the Soviet Union)
Both Democracies and Dictatorships offer material rewards, e.g.
--jobs, tax cuts, welfare benefits;
--or psychological rewards (national greatness, spiritual uplifting).
(as sort of Social Contract).
How do Elites use -- Legal Authority?
--Autocratic regimes, Hitler, Stalin, Saddam Hussein use violence to stamp out opposition, with no accountability to the people.
--Democratic governmentsroutinely arrest people and jail them for violating the law, however, they are accountable to the people.
e.g. Mafia, businesses, white collar crimes, etc.
---because of the “absence of the rule of law,” or
the rule of law not being followed.
---because of the “lack of alternation in power,
meaning, political officials need to be replaced or
limited in their positions of power.
---because of “nepotism:” favoritism shown to family or friends in favors, job assignments.
The State is the totality of a Country’s governmental institutions and officials, together with the laws and procedures that structure their activities.
1.Legal Authority: only the state/national government possesses the legal authority to make, and coercively enforce, laws that are binding on the population.
a “Failed State” or is in “Political Decay”.
2.Sovereignty:is the exclusive legal authority of a government over its population and territory, independent of external authorities (there is no higher authority that the “State” will recognize but its own).
http://www.un.org/english/, and http://europa.eu/index_en.htm (more in Chapter 6).
In the Pooled Sovereignty case, “shared sovereignty” is exercised.
3.Legitimacy: is the right to rule.
--the right to employ force within a given territory (126)
--the right to make laws and implement them.
4.Autonomy of the state refers to the relative independence of state authorities from the population.
5. Territorial Integrity:
a. A state must have sufficient power to
protect itself militarily to resist and reject
any aggression, invasion, or intervention
within its territorial boundaries.
b. It must be able to protect its “National Interests,” which include everything within or outside of the State’s domain [It] considers to be its National Interest.
favored a representative democracy established “by common consent”, with an elected legislature making up the highest political authority (p. 127).
and then their “Outcomes” are these
of Rights” were added, which are the first Ten Amendments to the U.S. Constitution. Since that time, only seventeen more Amendments have been added.
Types of Executives:
Head of Government: is usually the country’s chief political officer and is responsible for presenting and conducting its principal policies, “real decision-making authority” (p. 124): e.g.
Britain= Prime Minister with Cabinet are Head of Government; Crown is Head of State
U.S. = President is Head of State and Head of Government.
France = “Dual Executive:” The President is Head of State, with greater decision-making authority than the Prime Minister who is
the Head of Government.
Germany = Chancellor, Head of Government
Japan= Head of State is the Emperor; Head of
Government is the Prime Minister.
• Leadership, symbolic, and ceremonial roles.
• Supervision of the administration.
• Supervision of the military and foreign affairs.
Some executives are purely ceremonial, some have real power.
Different electoral systems:
Legislative Branch. With the 17th Amendment in 1913, elected by
whole state’s voters.
can have multiple [party] representatives. Only need small
percentile of votes [often 5% or 10%] to win seat in Legislature.
Functions of Courts:
Federal Courts: - The Supreme Court, 13 Circuit Appellate Courts,94 District Courts.
The U.S. Supreme Court can exercise “Judicial Review,” that is evaluate whether laws or actions by the Executive or
Legislative Branches are constitutional or not.
U.S. State Courts:Supreme Courts, District Appellate Courts, County Courts.
Britain: House of Lords (Upper House) functions as
the countries highest constitutional court.
Functions and Power of “Civil Servants”
and operate state owned or directed goods and
or no decision-making power. They only implement laws
decided by the National institutions.
Xenophobia, means distrust and hatred of foreigners.
Chauvinism (Sodaro notes] means wildly exaggerated, fanatical patriotism.
Irredentism: a nationalist foreign policy manifests a claim on the territory of another state in an effort to unite a national group, e.g. Germany under Hitler; Italy under Mussolini.