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Distinguish between power and authority.

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  • Essay length: 682 words
  • Submitted: 15/08/2003
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GCSE Politics

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Distinguish between power and authority

To answer this question we must first understand what both Power and Authority actually mean. According to the dictionary (www.dictionary.com) Power comes from the Latin 'potere' which means 'to be able.' Just from this little description we can tell that to have power would mean that you are able to do things. The dictionary then goes on to say that if you have power you can do anything you want, within reason.

Authority is the power to enforce laws, exact obedience, command, determine, or judge. Authority is also one that is invested with this power, especially a government or body of government officials

Both power and authority are closely associated and are sometimes interchangeable, though not always. According to Max Weber, a German sociologist who lived in the nineteenth century, there were three types of authority:

1. Traditional Authority - This type of authority is held by the monarchy, Parents, teachers etc. this could also be seen as hierarchical authority. It depends on established customs and traditions. In the case of the monarchy, it means that one monarch commands the same amount of respect, obedience and loyalty as

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