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Power, Authority, and States

International Foundations Programme

Matthew Funaiole

on 3 April 2015

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Transcript of Power, Authority, and States

Power, Authority, and Legitimacy

Dr. Matthew P. Funaiole

Closely related to Authority
The primary concept in the study of IR, any time there is a difference in power between two more groups (and especially if there is an international dimension or comparison) then we as IR scholars are going to be interested in it.

Some definitions:
Power contd.
The justification or the right of the state to exercise power in the form of issuing commands and binding decisions. (Jackson & Jackson, 1997, 10)
Authority contd.
Legitimacy contd
Related concepts
1) Charismatic: based on the charisma of the leader, who shows that he possesses the right to lead by his own virtues. Followers respect this right to lead because of his unique qualities, not because of any tradition or legal rules.
Weber's 3 Types of Authority
Hobbes vs Locke
Lecture 1: Power, Authority, and Legitimacy
Lecture 2: States, Sovereignty, Balance of Power
Lecture 3: International Law and International Organizations
Why are concepts important?
Nuts and bolts of arguments.

Make sure we are talking about the same thing. Need agreement as to what we are talking about.
The building blocks of ideas.

Greatest lesson: always define your terms. Be clear as to what you are talking about.

Remember this: all concepts are dependent on a particular context, what “war” means in one context can be very different from what in means in another.
What is Power?
Question: Who has more power? The US President or the British Prime Minister? Has this dynamic changed with time?
Power is the ability of A to make B do, what B would not otherwise do. (Dahl,1957, pp 202-203)
Power is the probability that one actor in a social relationship will be in a position to carry out his own will despite resistance, regardless of the basis on which this probability rests. (Weber, 1947, p 152)
Power is the capacity of some persons to produce intended and foreseen effects on others. (Wrong, 1979, p 2)
The ability to persuade or convince others to accept certain objectives or behave in a certain way (Jackson & Jackson, 1997,10)
The deliberate setting back of a person’s interests in order to shape his or her behavior. (Ripstein, 2004, 4)
Primary tool of governments/organizations
Threat or use of force
Implies some sort of right, or legal justification - rather than just power or coercion
2) Traditional: based on a system in which authority is legitimate because it "has always existed". People in power usually enjoy it because they have inherited it. Often patriarchal.
3) Legal-Rational: based on a system of rules that is applied administratively and judicially in accordance with known principles. The administers of those rules are appointed or elected by legal procedures.
Large element of Subjectivity:
Who determines whether a government, a group, an international action is legitimate or not? How does this change with time?
Example: Chinese Government crackdown on protestors in Hong Kong: authority vs legitimacy.
Social Contract
Consent of the governed
Individuals give up the right to exact retribution for crimes in return for impartial justice backed by overwhelming force of a
authority. Individuals retain the right to life and liberty, and gain the right to just, impartial protection from the sovereign.
Further Reading
Mark Haugaard (2006) Power: a reader. Manchester: Manchester Univ. Press. (Chapters by Dahl, Bachrach & Baratz, and Parsons)
David Beetham (1991) The Legitimation of Power, Palgrave Macmillan
Arthur Ripstein, “Authority and Coercion.” Philosophy & Public Affairs 32, no. 1 (January 2004): 2–35
In other words, the exercise of power is deemed to be acceptable or rightful. We follow the rules of the state, or the University because we accept that they have the right to make the rules and enforce them.
Question: Where does this 'right' come from?
Jens Steffek, "The Legitimation of International Governance: A Discourse Approach", European Journal of International Relations, (2003)
Whether a given rulership is believed to be based on good title by most men subject to it (Carl Friedrich, 1963, p. 234)
Definitions are very difficult to come by because of the inherent subjectivity of 'legitimacy'
Peter G. Stillman, "The Concept of Legitimacy" Polity, Vol. 7, No. 1 (Autumn, 1974)
Beginning of lecture series on core International Relations concepts. These lectures build off of the historical foundations provided in the past three weeks.
What is a
The State
How is power exercised by states? How does this compare with mobs, vigilantes, and kangaroo courts? What is the difference?
Individuals surrender some of their freedoms and submit to the authority of the ruler in exchange for protection of their remaining rights.
A government's legitimacy and moral right to exercise power is only justified when derived from the people over which that political power is exercised.
Individuals voluntarily surrendered his rights and freedoms to some authority for the sake of self-preservation. This authority is
, and the sovereign must be obeyed in all situations.
Comprised of a government and all its various agencies and branches: the executive, legislative and the judicial.

Essentially 'centralised bureaucracies'
Charles Tilly & Michael Mann argument:
States make wars, and wars makes states
States collect taxes in order to wage wars
to gain more territory,
more resources,
and to protect themselves

In order to secure themselves
, they need to be strong
. Consider: failed states.
cf: gangsters, racketeering and illicit business
eg: Cold
vs World
on Terror.
Example 2: Legitimacy can be politicized. US criticism of China on human rights.
Example 3: Use of mustard gas in WWI. Use of fire-bombing in WWII.
: Is legitimacy variable? Does it have to be reconstituted by the authority?
Full transcript