Government and Politics

Read section 17.1. As we just read in the previous article, to study politics is to "study power – who gets what, and how". This section explains that power can be conceptualized both in terms of "domination" and "collective capacity". In other words, "power" can refer to the ability to get someone to do something they normally would not do, but it also refers to the capacity institutions and people have to act or create. 

Authority is "accepted power". People accept the authority of a government or ruler when they believe that the government or ruler can rightly and appropriately exercise power over them. Accepting the authority of the government gives the government legitimacy. This reading introduces the three primary types of authority: traditional, charismatic, and rational-legal. Why do you think legitimacy is such a critical component in the ability to govern effectively? What happens when a government is not seen as legitimate by its citizens?