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What is the difference between Power and Authority?

  • Essay length: 733 words
  • Submitted: 13/10/2003
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GCSE Politics

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What is the difference between Power and Authority?

How does power compare to authority and can one be exerted without the other? Power is the ability to get things done by others. The principle of power is to punish and reward. Power can exist with or without authority. For instance an armed robber has power but no authority. Whereas authority is the power to enforce law and take command, and to expect obedience from those without authority. Authority can exist with or without power, for example a teacher has authority over the pupils but no real power.

Steven Lukes states that there is three dimensions of power, decision, non decision making and manipulating desires. In parliament when a law is being discussed by MP's and any other form of political group there must be a body which has power so that they can actually come to a decision. If no one had any power and everyone had different views and opinions then it would be impossible to come to a conclusion on the decision. The second of Lukes dimensions of power, is the non-decision making, this is basically the power to choose the political agenda. This is

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