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  • Power - the ability of an individual or an institution to force people to do things, whether they want to or not.
    • Coercion - the use of force to achieve ends.
    • Political - power exercised by governments through persuasions, sanctions and incentives.
    • Influence - a weaker form of power that affects decisions but cannot enforce them.
  • Authority - the right to exercise power: it is granted to rilers of anyone in power by those over whom power is exercised.
    • Traditional - authority that has existed for a long time and is thus accepted e.g. monarchs.
    • Rational (elective) - authority granted in an ordered way.
    • Charismatic - authority enjoyed by those who have a special appeal to people.
  • Sovereignity - the quality of having supreme, independent authority over a territory.
    • Legal - ultimate political authority e.g. British Parliament, shared in the EU.
    • Political - ultimate political power e.g. people at elections, government between elections.
    • External - the legitimacy of government within a territory, as recognised by other states.
  • The state - the permanent apparatus that holds power within a territory. It ensures national security, whichever group is in poweer, and represents the people collectively, whatever their political allegiances. The head of state represents the whole nation without political bias.
  • Government - gives the state its political direction, but is not superior.
  • Legislature - law making body.
  • Executive - execute laws.
  • Judiciary - enforce the law.
  • Direct democracy - i.e. people always play a role in decision making.
  • Representative democracy - i.e. people act on behalf of others.
  • Pluralist democracy - where people are represented through groups to which they belong.
  • Liberal democracy - rights are strssed and participation by all is encouraged.
  • Totalitarian democracy - the leader/elite claims to be acting on behalf of the people.

Political legitimacy


  • The lawful right to exercise power e.g. monarchy, parliamentary…


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