Government and Politics
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do a nation’s social conditions affect its day-to-day political and governmental life? POWER Power is at the heart of a political system. Power may be defined as the ability to exercise one’s will over others.
To put it another way, if one party in a relationship can control the behavior of the other, that individual or group is exercising power. Power relations can involve large organizations, small groups, or even people in an intimate association. Blood and Wolfe (1960) devised the concept of marital power to describe the manner in which decision making is distributed within families.
There are three basic sources of power within any political system—force, influence, and authority. Force is the actual or threatened use of coercion to impose one’s will on others. When leaders imprison or even execute political dissidents, they are applying force; so, too, are terrorists when they seize an embassy or assassinate a political leader.
Influence, on the other hand, refers to the exercise of power through a process of persuasion. A citizen may change his or her position regarding a Supreme Court nominee because of a newspaper editorial, the expert testimony of a law school dean before the Senate Judiciary Committee, or a stirring speech at a rally by a political activist. In each case, sociologists would view such efforts to persuade people as examples of influence.
Authority, the third source of power, will be discussed later. Max Weber made an important distinction between legitimate and illegitimate power. In a political sense, the term legitimacy refers to the "belief of a citizenry that a government has the right to rule and that a citizen ought to obey the rules and laws of that government".Скачать