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In the fields of
sociology Sociology is the study of society, human social behaviour, patterns of social relationships, social interaction, and culture that surrounds everyday life. It is a social science that uses various methods of Empirical method, empirical investig ...
and
political science Political science is the scientific study of politics. It is a social science dealing with systems of governance and power, and the analysis of politics, political activities, political thoughts, political behavior, and associated constitutions a ...
, authority is the legitimate
power Power typically refers to: * Power (physics) In physics, power is the amount of energy transferred or converted per unit time. In the International System of Units, the unit of power is the watt, equal to one joule per second. In older works, p ...
that a person or a group of persons possess and practice over other people. In a civil
state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspaper), a daily newspaper in Columbia, South Carolina, Un ...
, ''authority'' is made formal by way of a
judicial branch The judiciary (also known as the judicial system, judicature, judicial branch, judiciative branch, and court or judiciary system) is the system of court A court is any person or institution, often as a government institution, with the authori ...
and an
executive branch The executive is the branch of government exercising authority in and holding Moral responsibility, responsibility for the governance of a State (polity), state. The executive executes and enforces law. In political systems based on the princi ...
of
government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a State (polity), state. In the case of its broad associative definition, government normally consists of legislature, Executive (government), ex ...

government
. In the exercise of
governance Governance comprises all of the processes of governing – whether undertaken by the government of a state (polity), state, by a market (economics), market, or by a social network, network – over a social system (family, tribe, formal organiza ...

governance
, the terms ''authority'' and ''power'' are inaccurate synonyms. The term ''authority'' identifies the
political legitimacy In political science Political science is the scientific study of politics. It is a social science dealing with systems of governance and power, and the analysis of politics, political activities, political thoughts, political behavior, and as ...
, which grants and justifies the ruler’s right to exercise the power of government; and the term ''power'' identifies the ability to accomplish an authorized goal, either by compliance or by obedience; hence, ''authority'' is the ''power'' to make decisions and the legitimacy to make such legal decisions and order their execution.


History

Ancient Ancient history is the aggregate of past eventsWordNet Search – 3.0
"History"
from t ...
understandings of authority trace back to
Rome , established_title = Founded , established_date = 753 BC , founder = King Romulus , image_map = Map of comune of Rome (metropolitan city of Capital Rome, region Lazio, Italy).svg , map_caption = The te ...
and draw later from Catholic ( Thomistic) thought and other
tradition A tradition is a belief A belief is an Attitude (psychology), attitude that something is the case, or that some proposition about the world is truth, true. In epistemology, philosophers use the term "belief" to refer to attitudes about the wo ...

tradition
al understandings. In more modern terms, forms of authority include transitional authority exhibited in for example
Cambodia Cambodia (; also Kampuchea ; km, កម្ពុជា, ), officially the Kingdom of Cambodia, is a country located in the southern portion of the Indochinese peninsula in Southeast Asia. It is in area, bordered by Thailand to Cambodia–Th ...
, public authority in the form of
popular power Popular Power was a company founded in January 2000 that sold distributed computing Distributed computing is a field of computer science Computer science deals with the theoretical foundations of information, algorithms and the architectur ...
, and, in more administrative terms, bureaucratic or managerial techniques. In terms of bureaucratic governance, one limitation of the governmental agents of the executive branch, as outlined by George A. Krause, is that they are not as close to the popular will as elected representatives are. The claims of authority can extend to national or individual
sovereignty Sovereignty is the supreme authority within a territory. In any state, sovereignty is assigned to the person, body, or institution that has the ultimate authority over other people in order to establish a law or change an existing law. In polit ...
, which is broadly or provisionally understood as a claim to political authority that is legitimated. Historical applications of authority in political terms include the formation of the city-state of
Geneva , neighboring_municipalities= Carouge, Chêne-Bougeries, Cologny, Lancy, Grand-Saconnex, Pregny-Chambésy, Vernier, Switzerland, Vernier, Veyrier , website = ville-geneve.ch Geneva ( ; french: Genève ; frp, Genèva ; german: link=no, Genf ; ...

Geneva
, and experimental treatises involving the topic of authority in relation to education include '' Emile'' by
Jean-Jacques Rousseau Jean-Jacques Rousseau (, , ; 28 June 1712 – 2 July 1778) was a Republic of Geneva, Genevan philosopher, writer, and composer. His political philosophy influenced the progress of the Age of Enlightenment, Enlightenment throughout Europe, as w ...

Jean-Jacques Rousseau
. As David Laitin defines, authority is a key concept to be defined in determining the range and role of political theory, science and inquiry. The relevance of a grounded understanding of authority includes the basic foundation and formation of political, civil and/or ecclesiastical institutions or representatives. In recent years, however, authority in political contexts has been challenged or questioned.


Political philosophy

There have been several contributions to the debate of
political authority In political philosophy Political philosophy is the philosophical study of government, addressing questions about the nature, scope, and legitimacy of public agents and institutions and the relationships between them. Its topics include polit ...
. Among others,
Hannah Arendt Hannah Arendt (, also , ; 14 October 1906 – 4 December 1975) was a German-born American political theorist. Her many books and articles have had a lasting influence on political theory and philosophy. Arendt is widely considered one of ...
,
Carl Joachim Friedrich Carl Joachim Friedrich (; ; born June 5, 1901, Leipzig Leipzig (, also , ; Upper Saxon: ) is the most populous city in the Germany, German States of Germany, state of Saxony. With a population of 605,407 inhabitants as of 2021 (1.1 million ...
,
Thomas Hobbes Thomas Hobbes ( ; sometimes known as Thomas Hobbes of Malmesbury; 5 April 1588 – 4 December 1679) was an English English usually refers to: * English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spo ...
,
Alexandre Kojève Alexandre Kojève ( , ; 28 April 1902 – 4 June 1968) was a Russian Russian refers to anything related to Russia, including: *Russians (русские, ''russkiye''), an ethnic group of the East Slavic peoples, primarily living in Russia and neig ...

Alexandre Kojève
and
Carl Schmitt Carl Schmitt (; 11 July 1888 – 7 April 1985) was a German jurist A jurist is a person with expert knowledge of law; someone who analyses and comments on law. This person is usually a specialist legal scholarnot necessarily with a formal ...
have provided some of the most influential texts. In
political philosophy Political philosophy is the philosophical study of government, addressing questions about the nature, scope, and legitimacy of public agents and institutions and the relationships between them. Its topics include politics, liberty, justice, prop ...

political philosophy
, the jurisdiction of political authority, the location of
sovereignty Sovereignty is the supreme authority within a territory. In any state, sovereignty is assigned to the person, body, or institution that has the ultimate authority over other people in order to establish a law or change an existing law. In polit ...
, the balancing of notions of freedom and authority, and the requirements of political obligations have been core questions from the time of
Plato Plato ( ; grc-gre, Πλάτων ; 428/427 or 424/423 – 348/347 BC) was an Athenian , image_skyline = File:Athens Montage L.png, center, 275px, alt=Athens montage. Clicking on an image in the picture causes the ...

Plato
and
Aristotle Aristotle (; grc-gre, Ἀριστοτέλης ''Aristotélēs'', ; 384–322 BC) was a Greek philosopher A philosopher is someone who practices philosophy. The term ''philosopher'' comes from the grc, φιλόσοφος, , translit ...

Aristotle
to the present. Most
democratic Democrat, Democrats, or Democratic may refer to: *A proponent of democracy Democracy ( gr, δημοκρατία, ''dēmokratiā'', from ''dēmos'' 'people' and ''kratos'' 'rule') is a form of government in which people, the people have the a ...

democratic
societies are engaged in an ongoing discussion regarding the legitimate extent of the exercise of
government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a State (polity), state. In the case of its broad associative definition, government normally consists of legislature, Executive (government), ex ...

government
al authority. In the
United States The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US), or America, is a country Contiguous United States, primarily located in North America. It consists of 50 U.S. state, states, a Washington, D.C., federal di ...

United States
, for instance, there is a prevailing belief that the political system as instituted by the
Founding Fathers The following list of national founding figures is a record, by country, of people who were credited with establishing their nation. National founders are typically those who played an influential role in setting up the systems of governance, ...
should accord the populace as much freedom as reasonable. That government should limit its authority accordingly, known as
limited government In political philosophy Political philosophy is the philosophical study of government, addressing questions about the nature, scope, and legitimacy of public agents and institutions and the relationships between them. Its topics include politic ...
. Political anarchism is a philosophy which rejects the legitimacy of political authority and adherence to any form of sovereign rule or autonomy of a nation-state. An argument for political anarchy is made by
Michael Huemer Michael Huemer (; born 27 December 1969) is a professor of philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about reason, Metaphysics, existence, Epistemology, knowledge, Ethics, values, ...

Michael Huemer
in his book '' The Problem of Political Authority''. On the other side, one of the main arguments for the legitimacy of the state is some form of the social contract theory developed by
Thomas Hobbes Thomas Hobbes ( ; sometimes known as Thomas Hobbes of Malmesbury; 5 April 1588 – 4 December 1679) was an English English usually refers to: * English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spo ...
in his 1668 book, ''Leviathan'', or by
Jean-Jacques Rousseau Jean-Jacques Rousseau (, , ; 28 June 1712 – 2 July 1778) was a Republic of Geneva, Genevan philosopher, writer, and composer. His political philosophy influenced the progress of the Age of Enlightenment, Enlightenment throughout Europe, as w ...

Jean-Jacques Rousseau
in his political writings on
the social contract ''The Social Contract'', originally published as ''On the Social Contract; or, Principles of Political Right'' (french: Du contrat social; ou Principes du droit politique) by Jean-Jacques Rousseau Jean-Jacques Rousseau (, , ; 28 June 1712 ...
.


Sociology

Since the emergence of the
social sciences Social science is the branch Image:Tree Leaves.JPG, The branches and leaves of a tree. A branch ( or , ) or tree branch (sometimes referred to in botany as a ramus) is a woody structural member connected to but not part of the central tru ...

social sciences
, authority has become a subject of research in a variety of
empirical Empirical evidence for a proposition is evidence, i.e. what supports or counters this proposition, that is constituted by or accessible to sense experience or experimental procedure. Empirical evidence is of central importance to the sciences and ...
settings: the family (parental authority), small groups (informal authority of
leadership Leadership, both as a research area and as a practical skill, encompasses the ability of an individual, group or organization An organization, or organisation (English in the Commonwealth of Nations, Commonwealth English; American and Br ...

leadership
), intermediate organizations such as schools, churches, armies, industries and bureaucracies (organizational and bureaucratic authority), and society-wide or inclusive organizations, ranging from the most primitive tribal society to the modern nation-state and intermediate organization (political authority). The definition of authority in contemporary social science remains a matter of debate.
Max Weber Maximilian Karl Emil Weber (; ; 21 April 186414 June 1920) was a German sociologist, historian ( 484– 425 BC) was a Greek historian who lived in the 5th century BC and one of the earliest historians whose work survives. A historian is a pe ...

Max Weber
in his essay "
Politics as a Vocation "Politics as a Vocation" (german: Politik als Beruf) is an essay by German economist and sociologist Max Weber Maximilian Karl Emil Weber (; ; 21 April 186414 June 1920) was a German Sociology, sociologist, historian, jurist, and political econ ...
" (1919) divided legitimate authority into three types. Others, like
Howard Bloom Howard Bloom (born June 25, 1943) is an American author. He was a music publicist A publicist is a person whose job is to generate and manage publicity for a company, a brand A brand is a name, term, design, symbol or any other feature tha ...
, suggest a parallel between authority and respect/reverence for ancestors.


United Kingdom and the Commonwealth realms

The political authority in the British context can be traced to James VI and I of Scotland who wrote two political treatises called ''
Basilikon Doron The ''Basilikon Doron'' is a treatise on government written by King James VI James VI and I (James Charles Stuart; 19 June 1566 – 27 March 1625) was King of Scotland The monarch of Scotland was the head of state of the Kingdom of ...

Basilikon Doron
'' and '' The Trve Lawe of free Monarchies: Or, The Reciprock and Mvtvall Dvtie Betwixt a free King, and his naturall Subiectes'' which advocated his right to rule on the basis of the concept of the
divine right of kings In European Christianity Christianity is an Abrahamic religions, Abrahamic Monotheism, monotheistic religion based on the Life of Jesus in the New Testament, life and Teachings of Jesus, teachings of Jesus, Jesus of Nazareth. It is the Majo ...
, a theological concept that has a basis in multiple religions, but in this case, Christianity, tracing this right to the
apostolic succession Deodatus_of_Nevers.html"_;"title="Episcopal_consecration_of_Deodatus_of_Nevers">Deodatus;__(1580–1630). Apostolic_succession_is_the_method_whereby_the_Christian_ministry.html" ;"title="Deodatus of Nevers">Deodatus; (1580–1630).">Deodatus_of ...
. The King in the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth states are considered the foundations of judicial, legislative and executive authority.


United States

The understanding of political authority and the exercise of political powers in the American context traces back to the writings of the
Founding Fathers The following list of national founding figures is a record, by country, of people who were credited with establishing their nation. National founders are typically those who played an influential role in setting up the systems of governance, ...
, including the arguments put forward in ''
The Federalist Papers ''The Federalist Papers'' is a collection of 85 articles and essays written by Alexander Hamilton Alexander Hamilton (January 11, 1755 or 1757July 12, 1804) was an American statesman, politician, legal scholar, military commander, lawyer ...
'' by
James Madison James Madison Jr. (March 16, 1751June 28, 1836) was an American statesman, diplomat, expansionist, philosopher, and Founding Fathers of the United States, Founding Father who served as the 4th president of the United States from 1809 to 1817. ...

James Madison
,
Alexander Hamilton Alexander Hamilton (January 11, 1755 or 1757July 12, 1804) was an American statesman, politician, legal scholar, military commander, lawyer, banker, and economist. He was one of the Founding Fathers of the United States that was negotiat ...

Alexander Hamilton
and the First Chief Justice of the United States
John Jay John Jay (December 12, 1745 – May 17, 1829) was an American statesman, patriot, diplomat A diplomat (from grc, δίπλωμα; romanized Romanization or romanisation, in linguistics Linguistics is the science, scientific study of ...

John Jay
, and later speeches by the 16th President of the United States
Abraham Lincoln Abraham Lincoln (; February 12, 1809 – April 15, 1865) was an American statesman and lawyer who served as the 16th president of the United States The president of the United States (POTUS) is the head of state and head of government ...

Abraham Lincoln
. "Our government rests in public opinion," President Abraham Lincoln said in 1856. In his 1854 Speech at Peoria, Illinois, Lincoln espoused "the proposition that each man should do precisely as he pleases with all which is exclusively his own," a principle existing "at the foundation of the sense of justice." This sense of personal ownership and stewardship was integral to the practice of
self-government __NOTOC__ Self-governance, self-government, or self-rule is the ability of a person or group to exercise all necessary functions of regulation Regulation is the management of complex systems according to a set of rules and trends. In systems ...
as Abraham Lincoln saw it by a
Republican Republican can refer to: Political ideology * An advocate of a republic, a type of government that is not a monarchy or dictatorship, and is usually associated with the rule of law. ** Republicanism, the ideology in support of republics or against ...
nation and its people. This was because, as Abraham Lincoln also declared, "No man is good enough to govern another man, without that other's consent." The U.S. President is called to give account to the Parliament for the conduct of the whole government, including that of regulatory agencies. The President influences the appointments, the budgeting process and has the right and capacity to review regulatory rules on a case-by-case basis. Since the time of the
Reagan administration The presidency of Ronald Reagan began at noon EST (17:00 UTC) on January 20, 1981, when Ronald Reagan Ronald Wilson Reagan ( ; February 6, 1911June 5, 2004) was an American politician who served as the 40th president of the United S ...
the President was informed with a
cost–benefit analysis Cost–benefit analysis (CBA), sometimes also called benefit–cost analysis, is a systematic approach to estimating the strengths and weaknesses of alternatives used to determine options which provide the best approach to achieving benefits while p ...
of the regulation. The creation of a regulatory agency requires an act of the Congress which specifies its jurisdiction, the related authority and delegated powers. Regulatory authorities can be qualified as independent agencies or executive branch agencies, a choice which is the reason of struggle between the Congress and the President as well as with the American Courts. The latter's role is limited by the authorities' power to regulate
property rights The right to property, or the right to own property (cf. ownership) is often classified as a human right for natural persons regarding their possessions. A general recognition of a right to private property is found more rarely and is typically hea ...
without the
due process Due process is the legal requirement that the state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspa ...
rights mandatorily applied by the courts.


See also


References


Further reading

*
Giorgio Agamben Giorgio Agamben (; ; born 22 April 1942) is an Italian philosopher best known for his work investigating the concepts of the state of exception, form-of-life (borrowed from Ludwig Wittgenstein Ludwig Josef Johann Wittgenstein ( ; ; 26 Ap ...
, ''State of Exception'' (2005) *
Hannah Arendt Hannah Arendt (, also , ; 14 October 1906 – 4 December 1975) was a German-born American political theorist. Her many books and articles have had a lasting influence on political theory and philosophy. Arendt is widely considered one of ...
, "Authority in the Twentieth Century."
Review of Politics
' (1956) *
Hannah Arendt Hannah Arendt (, also , ; 14 October 1906 – 4 December 1975) was a German-born American political theorist. Her many books and articles have had a lasting influence on political theory and philosophy. Arendt is widely considered one of ...
, ''On Violence'' (1970) *
Józef Maria Bocheński Józef Maria Bocheński ( Czuszów, Congress Poland Congress Poland or Russian Poland, formally known as the Kingdom of Poland, was a polity created in 1815 by the Congress of Vienna as a semi-autonomous Poland, Polish State (polity), state and ...
, ''?'' (1974) * Renato Cristi, ''Hegel on Freedom and Authority'' (2005) *
Carl Joachim Friedrich Carl Joachim Friedrich (; ; born June 5, 1901, Leipzig Leipzig (, also , ; Upper Saxon: ) is the most populous city in the Germany, German States of Germany, state of Saxony. With a population of 605,407 inhabitants as of 2021 (1.1 million ...
, ''Authority''. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press (1958) *
Carl Joachim Friedrich Carl Joachim Friedrich (; ; born June 5, 1901, Leipzig Leipzig (, also , ; Upper Saxon: ) is the most populous city in the Germany, German States of Germany, state of Saxony. With a population of 605,407 inhabitants as of 2021 (1.1 million ...
, ''An Introduction to Political Theory: Twelve Lectures at Harvard.'' New York: Harper & Row (1967) *
Carl Joachim Friedrich Carl Joachim Friedrich (; ; born June 5, 1901, Leipzig Leipzig (, also , ; Upper Saxon: ) is the most populous city in the Germany, German States of Germany, state of Saxony. With a population of 605,407 inhabitants as of 2021 (1.1 million ...
, ''Tradition and Authority''. London: Macmillan (1972) * Robert E. Goodin (ed),
The Oxford Handbook of Political Science
' (2011) * Patrick Hayden, ''Hannah Arendt: Key Concepts'' (2014), esp. Chapter 8 *
Alexandre Kojève Alexandre Kojève ( , ; 28 April 1902 – 4 June 1968) was a Russian Russian refers to anything related to Russia, including: *Russians (русские, ''russkiye''), an ethnic group of the East Slavic peoples, primarily living in Russia and neig ...

Alexandre Kojève
, "The Notion of Authority" (2014) *
Rafael Domingo Osle Rafael Domingo Oslé (born 1963 in Logroño, La Rioja (Spain), La Rioja) is a Spanish jurist, legal historian and professor of law who is specialized in ancient Roman law, Comparative law, law and religion, and Global law. Domingo is the Spruill F ...
, ''Auctoritas'' (1999) * Gail Radford, ''The Rise of the Public Authority: Statebuilding and Economic Development in Twentieth-Century America'' (2013) *
Carl Schmitt Carl Schmitt (; 11 July 1888 – 7 April 1985) was a German jurist A jurist is a person with expert knowledge of law; someone who analyses and comments on law. This person is usually a specialist legal scholarnot necessarily with a formal ...
, ''Der Begriff des Politischen'' 'The_Concept_of_the_Political''.html" ;"title="The_Concept_of_the_Political.html" ;"title="'The Concept of the Political">'The Concept of the Political''">The_Concept_of_the_Political.html" ;"title="'The Concept of the Political">'The Concept of the Political''(1932) *
Max Weber Maximilian Karl Emil Weber (; ; 21 April 186414 June 1920) was a German sociologist, historian ( 484– 425 BC) was a Greek historian who lived in the 5th century BC and one of the earliest historians whose work survives. A historian is a pe ...

Max Weber
, ''Economy and Society'' (1922) *
Max Weber Maximilian Karl Emil Weber (; ; 21 April 186414 June 1920) was a German sociologist, historian ( 484– 425 BC) was a Greek historian who lived in the 5th century BC and one of the earliest historians whose work survives. A historian is a pe ...

Max Weber
, ''
Politics as a Vocation "Politics as a Vocation" (german: Politik als Beruf) is an essay by German economist and sociologist Max Weber Maximilian Karl Emil Weber (; ; 21 April 186414 June 1920) was a German Sociology, sociologist, historian, jurist, and political econ ...
'' (1919)


External links

*
Appeal to Authority Breakdown
* * Four essays published in the '' International Journal of Philosophical Studies'' from th
Robert Papazian Essay Prize Competition on Authority
{{Authority control Group processes Philosophy of law Political philosophy Social concepts Social ethics