GWINTTHEORY7FINAL2 | Legitimacy (Political) | John Stuart Mill

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Final essay on whether authority truly exists
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  Anonymous Marking Code: Z0968125 Essay 1: 1495 Words, Essay 2: 1494 Words 1 How is Power Different From Authority, and Why is this Distinction a Useful One? Power alone is a heavily contested concept 1  and one that is mistakenly taken as synonymous with authority. 2  The framework of this paper will be shaped around distinguishing authority and power. Accordingly, the paper will seek to distinguish these two terms by looking at hierarchy and legitimacy. In hierarchy, authority is seen as a fixed relational contract, whereas power is seen as a relationship determining the authoritarian order of hierarchy. Legitimacy can only be accorded to authority and not power. Authority will be defined as according to Weber: “Authority is power wielded legitimately.” 3  Barnett and Duvall’s definition of power shall be used here: “Power is the production, in and through social relations, of effects on actors that shape their capacity to control their fate .” 4  This definition is a somewhat Foucauldian concept of power, which understands power not as something that exists, but something that is “born incessantly”  and brings about “power relationships.” 5  This is particularly important when distinguishing power and authority through hierarchy. 1   Walter B. Gallie, ‘Essentially Contested Concepts,’ Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society  , Vol. 56, Wiley, 1956, n.p. 2   Hannah Arendt, ‘What is Authority,’ in Between Past and Future: Eight Exercises in Political Thought  , New York: Penguin Books, 2006, p. 91. 3   James A. Caporaso, ‘Changes in the Westphalian Order: Territory, Public Authority, and Sovereignty,’ International Studies Review  , Vol. 2, No. 2, Oxford University Press, Summer 2000, p. 4. 4   Michael Barnett and Raymond Duvall. ‘Power in International Politics,’ International Organization,  Vol. 59, No. 1, 2005, p. 45 5   Roger Deacon, ‘Strategies of Governance: Michael Foucault on Power,’ Theoria: A Journal of Social and Political Theory, No. 92, 1998, p. 114.  Anonymous Marking Code: Z0968125 Essay 1: 1495 Words, Essay 2: 1494 Words 2 In international society, a hierarchy is brought about when one state exercises authority over another state. 6  At this point a distinction between power and authority can be made. Whilst the term ‘authority’ indicates the position of each state within the hierarchy (theoretical authority) and the right to which it can issue commands (practical authority) 7 , ‘power’ describes the relationship between each state within that hierarchical structure and an authority’s ability to issue those commands. This power relationship can explain how a state’s authority within this hierarchy came about  and how it can change. This largely follows the work of political realists such as Morgenthau, who state: “we…think…in terms of interests defined as power.” 8  This is important because whilst authority merely describes how state A has authority over state B, this does not describe the social relations that brought the order of that hierarchy about. If an authority gains power through military means for example, the hierarchy may be shown to be false, and thus a new authoritative order is brought about, with a new subjective relationship of power. 9   Thus a greater attribution of power can increase one state’s authority over another. Weber alludes to other factors helping to determine the hierarchical structure of authority, such as legitimacy, however it is power that determines the hierarchical order of authority to the greatest extent, since it is suffused throughout the whole social body, where as legitimacy may only be accorded to a few authorities. 10  Arendt also agrees with this, statin g that the source of authority “is always a force [power] external…to its own power; it is always this external force which transcends the political realm, from which 6   David A. Lake, ‘Rightful Rules: Authority, Order, and the Foundations of Global Governance,’ International Studies Quarterly  , Vol. 54, No. 3, Wiley, September 2010, p. 590. 7   Anthony F. Lang Jr, ‘International Political Theory: An Introduction,’ Palgrave, 2015, p. 22.   8  Hans- Karl Pichler, ‘The Godfathers of ‘Truth’: Max Weber, and Carl Schmitt in Morgenthau’s Theor y of Power Politics,’ Review of International Studies , Vol. 24, No. 2, 1998, p. 188. 9  Hedley Bull, ‘The Anarchical Society: A Study of Order in World Politics ,’ Palgrave Macmillan, 2012, p. 100.   10   Roger Deacon, ‘Strategies of Governance,’  p. 117.  Anonymous Marking Code: Z0968125 Essay 1: 1495 Words, Essay 2: 1494 Words 3 [states] derive their authority… and against which their power can be checked.” 11 Thus authority is fixed in reference to itself, as it arises from the ‘relation   authority contract’ 12  that has the provision of a hierarchical order at its core, however power is fluid and thus can change relationships within a hierarchy. This distinction has a useful application in the real world as it can be used to describe changes in the hierarchical system; such as if North Korea were to gain coercive power by becoming nuclear, it would undoubtedly be accorded to having greater authority, and thus would move higher up in the hierarchical system of international society. A second way in which power differs from authority is in relation to legitimacy. Legitimacy is the extent to which a state acknowledges the validity of the ruler in an established order. 13  Legitimacy may be found in a variety of sources, such as the Treaty of Westphalia, which has accorded sovereignty as a form of authority, however legitimacy cannot be accorded to power. 14  One might say that the citizenry of a state has the power to give legitimacy to an authority in order to maintain compliance. International society works in a similar way, where a state may comply with rules made by legitimate authorities in the hierarchy , even if it is not in their “immediate interest to do so.” 15  We can therefore see authority as “ if the willing unconditional compliance of a group of people rests upon their shared beliefs that it is legitimate for the superior…to impose his will upon 11   Arendt, ‘What is Authority?’  p. 92. 12   Michael C. Williams, ‘Perspectives on Politics,’ Vol. 8, No. 2, June 2010, p. 712.   13   Ken Morrison, ‘ Marx, Durkheim, Weber: Formations of Modern Social Thought  ,’ Sage Publications, 2006, p. 363. 14  Lang Jr, p. 34. 15  Lak e, ‘Rightful Rules:’ p. 588.  Anonymous Marking Code: Z0968125 Essay 1: 1495 Words, Essay 2: 1494 Words 4 and that it is illegitimate for them to refuse obedience.” 16  Without legitimacy, order may still be maintained using coercive power, however a state will not have the same authority to exercise that power, as it would had legitimacy been accorded to it. 17  Since authority always demands compliance, it is commonly mistaken for some form of power or violence, however this is not true since authority relies on consent, whereas power relies on coercion for compliance. 18  This is the key difference between authority and power in relation to legitimacy. In the same way that the people can take away legitimacy from an authority, they can also take back their collective power from the sovereign . As Hobbes states “ the power of the mighty [the Leviathan] hath no foundation but in the opinion and belief of the people.” 19  As a result, it can be said that authority relies on consent for compliance, whereas power relies on coercion. This is demonstrated during the Arab Spring, where the collective power of the majority overthrew the authority with which they no longer wished to comply. This Foucauldian conception of power explains how power is not a scarce possession wielded over one another  –  like authority- but is relational, and is called into being by our own free actions. When legitimacy declines to such a low level over time, a state’s authority itself will be lo st, and thus the ability of the state to exercise coercive power. However, in the long term a lack of legitimacy will erode authority to such an extent that the people will choose to take back their collective coercive power, leaving the authority with nothing on which to stand. The forces of power will then be enacted to change the individual sovereign or government in authority. This may be useful in explaining the time lag between when a state loses its legitimacy, and thus the strength of 16   Ian Hurd, ‘Legitimacy and Authority in International Politics,’ International Organization, Vol. 53, No. 2, Cambridge University Press, Spring 1999, p. 401. 17   Gianfranco Poggi, ‘Weber: A Short Introduction’, Polity Press , Wiley, 2006, p. 94. 18   Arendt, ‘What is Authority?’ p. 92.   19   Lake, ‘Rightful Rules,’ p. 592.  
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