Power & politics

Simple revision notes for AQA sociology unit 3

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  • Created on: 02-01-12 14:55
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Power and politics
Power ­ is a force, coercion and repression used to gain compliance.
Authority ­ power is used by superiors, force is not necessary but is the ultimate sanction if
authority fails.
Legitimacy ­ power becomes authority, the majority of people see those in power as rightfully
Weber suggests that there are three types of legitimacy:
Traditional authority ­ subordinates comply because things have always been a certain way.
Legal rational authority ­ based on laws, rules and regulations, if regulation fails to serve its
purpose it can be replaced.
Charismatic authority ­ a ruler is so personally liked that people will do what they say without
First face of power ­ based on decision making and who has the power to influence decisions
Second face of power ­ based on non decision making, where issues aren't debated in wider
Third face of power ­ based on ideologies, where people accept it even when it's not in their
Analysis of different theories of power and society:
Marxist theory Elite theory Pluralist theory
People Rational, creative People are unequal in Some people are more able
their abilities; they are
unable to reach a full self than others & should have more
potential in a class society. seeking & competitive. chance at leadership.
Society Ruling class own means of Distinct division between There is no one elite in society,
production & wealth. the classes. society is stratified.
State Serves the interest of the The state manipulates The state is impartial and should
ruling class through force. political power. serve interests of the nation.
Power Those who own & control Those who form the No one group has more power

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Social Change takes place
change through Change takes place when Change takes place gradually as
class conflict. middle class are recruited improvements are seen to be
by the elites. necessary.
Intense state autonomy ­ The state has different views from the mass of the population, but
manages to dominate decision making.
Middle way state autonomy ­ At times the state needs to persuade certain groups and
opponents that events are being managed in their best interests.…read more


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