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What Is Politics And Why Is Power Difficult To Define?

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Introduction

What Is Politics And Why Is Power Difficult To Define? To understand Politics, we need to understand three other terms, society, government and authority, as all three are what politics revolves around. Politics is society; Society is a community and everything the community involves, culture, religion and things such as social class. Society is organised by politics. Politics in a society deal with disagreements or conflicts. Within a society, there will always be different groups with different opinions, something is needed to make sure these groups, are able to co-exist, this is politics. Politics is needed to decide who in a society should hold authority over the other people in a society, the allocation of authority. Authority itself however is complicated as it has more than one area of meaning. Authority can actually be three different things within society; Max Weber a German sociologist defines these 3 meanings. Weber divided authority into traditional authority, charismatic authority and rational-legal authority. An example of traditional authority would be the English Monarchy. This is self explanatory, as it is traditional that the Monarchy holds some sort of authority. An example of charismatic authority would be a character such as Jesus Christ; he was not given any authority via politics nor was he born with any, such as a monarch. ...read more.

Middle

Firstly Weber, he says the power falls into two areas, coercion and authority. This shows us that authority might not actually be power, but at least has something to do with it. Weber apart from dividing authority into three categories, states that authority is accepted because it is legitimate. A good example of this is that in England, parliaments decisions are excepted because they are regarded by society as lawful. His second area of power, coercion, is stated as being "not legitimate by those subject to it". People ruling coercively, may use force to keep themselves in power. A good example of coercive power would be what the black people in South Africa suffered before the time of Nelson Mandella. So do we have power defined, according to one person we do, but not according to other people, who seem to have different ideas and theories on power. One of these people was Karl Marx; Marx was a German economist who lived at the end of the 19th century. Marx believed that the Economic system determined the political system. He thought that the people who control the means of production, distribution and exchange were the people who held the power. ...read more.

Conclusion

In my opinion Marx had the best theory, I do not believe however that it could ever work, but it was a good idea. This is because the person, who "runs" the communist state is always going to have the power, be it coercive or not. Good examples of this are communist Russia ran by Stalin or communist Cuba ran by Fidel Castro. It would be nice to believe that coercive power should never be needed and democracy existed world wide, but its not going to happen. Also is democracy the only answer, as with democracy there is always going to be a "minority" that is overruled, so at any one point, not everyone is going to be happy. To answer my own question I asked earlier "without government, society would be chaos?" yes, I think it would. I don't feel qualified to state what would solve all the worlds' political problems, but I do feel qualified to say that there is always going to be someone who is unhappy, so do we try and make them happy and make someone else unhappy, or do we just go with it and try and make as many people happy as possible and say "tough luck" to the minority? ...read more.

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