Power, Authority, and Accountability in Politics Essay

Power, Authority, and Accountability in Politics Essay

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When looking into the ideas of political theorists it is important to the use of political concepts that may play an important role in what the theorists are suggesting and also how they may affect the relationship between to state and the individuals living within a state. The concepts that will be looked at within this essay are: power, authority and also accountability.
Power in politics is a person who has the ability to influence a person in terms of their behaviour; however they possess no right to - unlike authority. There are many ways in which a person can influence another’s behaviour; one such example is through coercion. Coercion refers to the use of violence or threats in order to influence someone. [Jones and Norton, 2011]

Authority is similar to the idea of power in politics. A person who has authority not only has the ability to influence a person and perhaps change a person’s behaviour but also have the right to do so. Having authority often comes within an occupational role, for example a policeman, a fireman or judges often have the right to tell what to do. This is also known as legitimate power. Legitimate authority only comes into account if the person also has the power to influence other. People may not agree with what they are being asked to do, but because they have legitimate power they do so anyway. [Heywood, 2000]

Accountability in politics refers to the process of being held liable for your own actions. Many people such as politicians have a different degree to which they are held responsible for their actions and consequences that may come as a result of such an action. [Word Bank Group, 2011] Today, Politicians are much more accountable than ever before. Mass media has played a large part i...

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The word bank group (2012) Political Accountability [1] [Online] worldbank.org Available from
http://web.worldbank.org/WBSITE/EXTERNAL/TOPICS/EXTPUBLICSECTORANDGOVERNANCE/EXTANTICORRUPTION/0,,contentMDK:20222028~menuPK:1165494~pagePK:148956~piPK:216618~theSitePK:384455,00.html [Accessed: 02/11/2011]

Todd, J. (2011) ‘Alone in Sirte’ [Online] Labor Uncut Available from : http://labour-uncut.co.uk/2011/10/24/alone-in-sirte/ [Accessed: 11/11/2011]
Williams, G (2005) ‘Hobbes: Moral and Political Philosophy’ [Online] Internet Encyclopaedia of Philosophy Available from http://www.iep.utm.edu/hobmoral/ [Accessed: 04/11/2011]
Wheeler, L. (2011) ‘Niccolò Machiavelli and "The Prince"’[Online] http://web.cn.edu/kwheeler/machiavelli.html [Accessed: 02/11/2011]
Skinner, Q (2000) ‘Machiavelli: A Very Short Introduction’ Published by Oxford University Press, Oxford

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