The authority is a wide concept whose we will try to retain a single definition and, by doing this, to determine what can morally (or ideally) justify the authority.
Originally, the authority is a power exerted by an institution or a person because and at a rate of the functions recognized with this one.
Other meanings of the word are possible: When one says of a person that it has “of” the authority , that means that it has an aptitude to order (or to impose its point of view or to be made respect), a propensity to order. In this direction, the individual who would have much or too authority would be described as authoritative . On the other hand, if one refers to the definition put forward, one will say that it to the authority (“of” being to proscribe in this type of proposal) or if one wants, that it is authorized to act, to exert his power.
The power, it is faculty to influence notably the course of an action, the evolution of a situation.
The term institution is to be taken with the direction organic but not necessarily political or jurisdictional, the institution being able for example, to concretize themselves by a professor or the parents. The institution includes itself/understands ultimately, like an entity integrated into an organization. Entity “professor” ipso facto , belonged to the education system; the entity “parents” is a component of the system “family”.
By metonymy, the authority often indicates the institution itself.
The phrase “because and rightly” is used to mean the cause ( because ) and the limit ( rightly ).
One will thus notice at which point the words authority , power , institution and functions are closely dependant. The etymology also expresses the importance of the concept.
Central concept of the political thought, " The authority implies an obedience in which the men keep to them liberté." The authority which requires this obedience concerns neither the force indeed, nor of the argumentation. It is a concept which calls neither upon the constraint (report/ratio of tyrant on subject), nor with the argumentation (of equal footing). For example in addition to the relation Master-raises, that of a doctor and his patient, of the captain of a ship and its team-members. In this direction, authority implies inequality and difference.
According to Hannah Arendt, " The characteristic more striking those which are the authority is that they do not have to be able… /… it appears curiously imperceptible to us and intangible, having in this respect a resemblance striking to the legal branch of the government of Montesquieu". One thus should not confuse to be authoritative with having authority.
Elements of etymology
The word authority comes from Latin auctoritas . Professor Michel HUMBERT, in his book “Political institutions and social of antiquity” (Precise Dalloz) gives very interesting information about this last mot. Seulement some fragments are retranscribed hereafter.
“Concept of auctoritas , essential in private law and in public law Romans, attaches, by its root, with same group as augere (to increase), forecasts (that which increases the authority of an act by the favorable examination of the birds), augustus (that which reinforces by its Charisme which is carrying the auctoritas). The auctoritas expresses in its turn the idea to increase the effectiveness of a legal document or a right. In the same way the Senate, thanks to its incomparable prestige, with the virtue to increase the import of any act for which it gave its agreement (its auctoritas ). None of these decisions will be taken directly by the Senate (it does not have the capacity of it). But all these projects, enriched by the auctoritas of the Senate, are ensured of success. No politically significant act is put at execution by a magistrate without the agreement (and the deliberation) of the Senate. So much so that all happens as if the inspirer of the decision were the Senate, and the executant, the magistrate. Such is the force of the auctoritas : without it, not of action; in front of it, not of inaction. ”
The concept of authority has just been defined in a rather legal and social direction. It is its character necessary, even essential to the structure of any company which returns it legitimates for the greatest number and which makes it possible to oppose it erga omnes (in condition of course, which it is regular juridically) One should not forget, either, what is called the natural authority which can release itself from a person (and there still the beneficial aspect is subjacent). On the professional level, for example, one will allot to a person an unquestionable authority if it inspires, from his competence and his morality, the confidence which will make it possible to obtain best each one and the good agreement between the various individuals of the group.
The problem of the authority is in the center of the political Philosophie and the Sociologie. If, since Plato, all the philosophical writings contain discussions of the authority, one can quote as contemporary authors max Weber (which formulated a famous definition of the charismatic Pouvoir), Alexandre Kojève which was inspired freely by Hegel, Carl Schmitt and finally Giorgio Agamben, which denounces the authority like " mythologème" political philosophy.
Authority in the Chinese thought
At Confucius, art to control is based on the political straightness, articulated around the double principle of the Li (Reason and Law at the base of the rights and duties mutual, in the direction of the force of the right, in contrast with the right of the force) and of the Chi (psychic energy, heart, heart, courage, near to the animated Latin).
The Sinologist Marcel Granet note:
" One enjoys to speak about the gregarious instinct of the Chinese, and one likes to also to lend an anarchistic temperament them. In fact, their spirit of association and their individualism are country qualities. The idea that they have order derives from a feeling, healthy and rustic, good agreement. The failure of the Legists, combined successes of the Taoists and Confucéens prove it: this feeling, - what wounds the administrative intrusions, the levelling constraints, abstract codings or regulations (1285), - rests (for shares, variables, undoubtedly, according to the individuals, but, approximately, appreciably equal) on a kind of passion of autonomy, and on a need, not less sharp, of trade-guild and friendship. State, Dogmas and Laws cannot anything in favor of the Order. The Order is conceived under the aspect of a Peace that the abstract forms of obedience could not establish, nor to impose the abstract forms of the reasoning. To make cut down in any place this peace, which is necessary, it is a taste of the conciliation which requires an acute sense of current suitabilities, spontaneous solidarity, free hierarchies. Chinese logic is not a rigid logic of subordination, but a flexible logic of the hierarchy: one made a point of preserving at the idea of Order all that had concrete of the images and the emotions which it left. That one gives him for symbol the CAT and that one sees in the CAT the principle of any autonomy and any harmony, that one gives him for symbol Li and that one sees in Li the principle of any equitable hierarchy or distribution, the idea of Order retains in it, - very rowed, certainly, and yet near still to its rustic bottom, - the feeling that to include/understand and get along, it is to carry out peace in oneself and around oneself. All Chinese Wisdom leaves this feeling. It does not matter the nuance more or less mystical or positive, more or less naturist or humanistic of their inspiration: in all the Schools finds itself, - expressed by symbols which remain concrete and preserve of it only more efficiency, - the idea that the principle of a good universal agreement merges with the principle of a universal intelligibility. Any knowledge, any capacity proceeds of Li or the CAT. Any Chief must be a saint or Wise. Any Authority rests on Raison." (Marcel Granet, " The thought chinoise" , pp. 478-480, republication, Albin Michel, Paris, 1968, first edition, Rebirth of the Book, Paris, 1934).
The Chinese Order means at the same time " impératif" and " ordonnancement" interlaced. " Camarade" says itself in Chinese " Tung (even) Chi (will) " , meaning community of intention and action (being able to point out the Greek word synodos (at the origin of Synod), " way commun").
To have the authority or to be authority?
In works of Erich Fromm, “To have or be?” is the summary and the crossroads of all its major ideas of “Union-with-world”.
Another example of the difference between the mode” to have” and the mode “being” is the exercise of the authority. The essential point is expressed by the difference between “having” authority and “being” an authority. Each one (or almost) among us exerts an authority, at least at certain periods of its life. Those which raise children must exert an authority - that they it want or not to protect their children and to give them a minimum of councils on the action to be taken in various circumstances. In the patriarchal company, the women, also, are subjected to an authority on behalf of the majority of the men. Almost all the members of a hierarchically organized bureaucratic company, like ours, exert an authority, except the individuals who are located at low of the social scale and who are only objects of authority.
Our comprehension of the authority according to the two modes requires that we admit that the word " autorité" represent a general term which has two completely different meanings: the authority can be " rationnelle" or " irrationnelle". The rational authority is founded on competence and it helps to develop the person who rests on it. The irrational authority is founded on the capacity and is used to exploit the person who is subjected to him.
In the most primitive companies, i.e. in the companies of gathering and hunting, the authority is exerted by the person who is generally recognized as being qualified in a certain task. Qualities which this competence concerns depend especially on specific circumstances, although it seems that one can include the experiment there, wisdom, generosity, the skill, the " présence" , courage. In the majority of these tribes, there does not exist any permanent authority, but an authority emerges where necessary.
Or there exist various authorities corresponding to various circumstances: the war, religious practices, the payment of the quarrels. When qualities on which the authority rests disappear or weaken, the authority itself ends. One can observe a very similar form of authority in many primitive companies where competence is often given not by the physical force but by qualities such as the experiment and the " wisdom " . During a very clever test practiced with monkeys, J. Mr. R. Delgado, in 1967, showed that the animal dominating, if it lost qualities even temporarily justifying his competence, lost at the same time its authority.
The authority of the mode “being” rests not only on personal competence necessary to the achievement of certain social functions, but also on the gasoline even of a personality which reached an high degree of development and integration. Such people radiate authority and have to give orders neither to threaten, nor to corrupt. They are highly advanced individuals who, by what they are - and not, especially, by what they do and say - show what can be the human beings.
The large Masters of the Life were authorities of this kind, and, with a least degree of perfection, one can find these individuals on all the levels of education and in the most varied cultures. (The problem of education is articulated on this point. If the parents were themselves more advanced and if they were based on their own center, the opposition between authoritative education and education laxist would probably not exist. Needing this authority of the being mode, the child reacts in front of it with eagerness; on the other hand, the child revolts against oppression, the indifference or the excess of attention of people who show by their own behavior that they did not achieve themselves the effort until they wait of the child in the course of growth.)
At the same time as were formed the companies based on a hierarchical order, and much larger and more complexes that those of the hunters and gatherers, the authority of competence yielded the place to the authority of the social status. That does not want to say that the existing authority is necessarily inefficient; nor that competence is not an essential component of the authority. That we deal with authority of the monarchical type - where the lottery of genes decides qualities of the competence - or with a criminal without scruple which manages to become an authority by the murder and the cheating, or, like so often in our modern democracies, with authorities chosen on the basis of their photogénie or of the quantity of money which they could spend for their election, in all these cases there can not be practically no relationship between competence and the authority.
But there are nevertheless serious problems in the case of an authority established on the basis of competence certain: a chief can have been qualified in a field and inefficient in another - for example, a statesman can lead a war with competence and appear inefficient in times of peace; or such chief who is courageous and honest at the beginning of his career can let himself gray by the seductions of the capacity; or, the physical age and disorders can bring a certain forfeiture. Finally, it should be considered that it is much easier for the members of a small tribe to judge the behavior of the holder of the authority than for the million individuals of our system, who know their candidates only by the artificial image created by the specialists in the public relations.
Whatever the reasons of the loss of qualities constitutive of competence, the process of alienation of the authority intervenes in the large hierarchically organized companies. Competence initial, real or claimed, is transferred to the uniform or the title. If the authority carries the suitable uniform or has the adapted title, these signs external of competence replace true competence and its qualities. The king - this title being regarded as the symbol of this type of authority - can be stupid, dépravé, malicious, i.e. private completely of the competence which would enable him to be an authority, but it however has the authority. As long as it holds the title, it is supposed to have qualities of competence. Even when the king is naked, the people believe that it wears splendid clothing.
The fact that people take the uniforms and the titles for real qualities of competence is something which does not go completely from oneself. Those which hold these symbols of the authority and which, consequently, profit from it, must deaden the realistic thought (i.e. critical) of the people-subject and must make him believe in the fiction. Whoever thinks of it knows the machinations of propaganda, the methods which make it possible to destroy the critical judgment, the way in which the spirit is deadened and subjected by stereotypes, how people are reduced to silence because they become dependant and lose the capacity to trust their eyes and with their judgment. They are blind with reality by the fiction in which they believe.
Hierarchy of the capacities
For better acting to locate the authority, for better including/understanding the concept of authority to connect it to that of the capacity and for better perceiving this idea of authority in a hierarchy of the capacities to move back to avoid the tree which masks the forest in a ecosystemic Approche.
The capacity is simply the capacity to influence, direct and delimit the thought or the action of an individual or a group.
At Marcel Mauss, in this " Anthropology sociale" social cohesion, there is the " social capacity immédiat" exerted by anybody and to which everyone is subjected. It is that of the tradition and the habit.
If the Politologie is the study, knowledge and the dicours (ogos) on the capacity, then let us see this hierarchy of the capacities in the world and to make a turn in one of the political institutes of studies French or a department of political sciences of one of the large universities of the world.
- 1 " Auctoritas" or senatorial capacity of the authors (auctor, oris) of the laws. It is the legislative power;
- 2 " Imperium" or consular capacity of the senior civil servants of the State;
- 3 " Potestas" or administrative capacity of the execution of the details (minutiae, from where " AD minutiae": for the details)
" Yielding togae" armed; (Cicéron). That the weapons yield to the toga.
Such is the injunction of Ciceron (duties) on the primacy of the legislature on the executive of a democracy of a Rule of law.
Sociology distinguishes the " dominance" who is an effective prevalence of the " domination" who is this prevalence devoted by the right. Predominance becomes domination through long walk towards the legislature of the authority which legalizes and devotes this predominance. For example, the Anglo-American language is " dominante" by acceptance, but it is not " dominatrice" in absence of law which obliges with its employment. No law obligel' Institute Pasteur to be published into Anglo-American. Another example is and the Japanese industry predominance Tokyo Stock Exchange of automoble, electronics and optics where nothing obliges the industry of the other countries to follow its standards of design, production and distribution. Chrysler, Ford and GM adopted these standards to survive, as Renault had to be combined with Nissan and GM at Toyota.
It is through the authority of the authors of the law that a " dominance" transforms itself into " domination" , that the preferences of the ones become the obligations of all.
- Predominance requires acceptance;
- The domination requires the tender;
- The authority requires obedience. It is the phenomenon of the " compliance" studied by Amitai Etzioni.
See with the conclusion" of 442 RCT.
" The sociologist Amitai Etzioni studied, starting from the camps of internment of the Nippo-American S, the phenomenon of " compliance" who is obedience with a " autorité" wanted and accepted and the devotion towards this authority, obedience and devotion which are not a tender with a " pouvoir".
Then, concept of " autorité" becomes more understandable like a Système of capacities with its " structure" hierarchical, its " fonction" of command and scheduling and its " évolution" , of the Tyranny to the parliamentary Democracy of a Dictatorship electoralist of the great number, in an ecology of philosophies.
As a form of communication or interactions where " the interactions are reciprocal actions modifying the behavior or the nature of the elements, body, objects, phenomena involved or influence." (Edgar Morin, 1977, p. 51), an investigation on the concept of authority privileges the relation rather the disjoined discrete entity, the relation between authority and obedience, the source and the member elect. Like “leadership” and “charisma”, the authority is the description of a mode of relation in the register of the influences.
" The difference between the Newtonian world and that of the communication holds, simply, with the fact that the first allots a reality to the objects and arrives to a certain theoretical simplicity by excluding the context from the context, therefore in fact, any metarelation and, a fortiori, any retreat ad infinitum in the chain of such relations." (Gregory Bateson, p. 72, " Towards an ecology of the esprit". 2, Threshold, Paris, 1980).
In the European tradition of Old Mode, the political authority was held by the kings, sovereigns starting from the Renaissance. Monarchy even became absolute at the 17th century in France.
The revolutions American and French upset this design of the things, by introducing the concept of Souveraineté of the people. As all the Citoyen S could not have authority on all the subjects, the principle of Démocratie wanted that the Souveraineté of the people is delegated by the Vote for all to qualified Institution S and people: Parliament, president of the Council, courts of justice,… according to the type of Competence S necessary to the exercise of the authority.
According to the American political economist Stephen Krasner, the authority and control is two aspects of the Souveraineté.
The Decision-making process in the contemporary political institutions are complex, so that the authority is necessarily shared between various types of capacities: Executive power, Legislative power, judicial Power.
In the European Union, the authority is exerted at various levels according to the Compétence S allotted to the Union and the Member States, under the terms of the Principes of subsidiarity/substitution, and of the Principe of proportionality.
Whatever the type of institution exerting an authority, and whatever the required Competence S, the exercise of the authority passes by Information. Nowadays, the information of authority must be managed in Registres of metadata.
Authority and violenceAccording to the classic authors, any form of authority is initially based on violence. There is always the threat which one can resort to the force.
Thus, some said that the school was " the interiorization of violence ".
For Hannah Arendt, however, the authority is defined as the capacity to be made obey unconstrained. Violence is then conceived like a denaturation of the authority.
Handing-over in question of the authority: Hannah Arendt
In the Crisis of the culture , Hannah Arendt explains why the authority entered a generalized crisis (to be noted that the book was published in 1968).
For that, it is necessary to take again the traditional diagram of the authority operated by max Weber. According to him, there exist three forms transmission of the authority:
- usual (exit of the tradition);
- charismatic (a person which fascine, whose authority is retransmise with the descent, but with a certain degradation, because of a routinisation);
- rational-legal (the contemporary political regimes or when one says somebody whom it on the matter has authority ).
According to Arendt, the crisis of the authority touches the usual diagram of retransmission initially (and extends also thereafter to the charismatic diagram).
This crisis touches all the spheres of the company: the policy, the religion, the school, the family. She touches however only little the traditional diagram of the economy, where the head of undertaking remains always the agent of the authority, without (almost) any possible dispute on behalf of its employees.
The causes of this crisis go back to the insertion of the democratic system in the company. Paradoxically, in fact totalitarianisms were the first to benefit from this political crisis. The democratic principle initially entered by the means of the policy in 1789, but in May 1968, it touches all the other spheres of the company, which it calls " prépolitiques". The democratic system is basically opposed to the usual authority, because in a democracy, everyone is equal, it thus does not have there natural authority . The only authority which can then prevail in this case is the legal-rational authority (where the agent of the authority must show his competences).
Thus, more than one true crisis of the authority, one sees appearing a transformation of this one: the traditional authority must make place with a legal-rational authority. Hannah Arendt however wishes to limit this movement in a particular case: that of the children (at the school or in the family). The children need structuring; to learn the democratic principle before even learning the authority is bad, because in this case, they call in question the authority of their professor and their parents.
Education is a case of figure where the authority finds its full expression indeed is that of the report/ratio of Master with pupil: the relation, already had a presentiment of by Aristote, between the old ones and the young people is teaching par excellence and according to Hannah Arendt, " Need for the " autorité" is more plausible in the breeding of the child and education that nowhere ailleurs".
In a historical approach, the intuition of the authority such as she was lived in Occident is very old. She was born only after one major Greek philosophical reflection (as of Plato) lived later and by others still, the Romans. The authority that Plato sought, and that the Roman world was to discover, was well " a relation where the element of constraint resided in the relation it even former to the effective expression of the commandement".
Thus for Hannah Arendt, in spite of its “utopian” character Greek philosophy was logically taken again by the Romans who " in their untiring research of the tradition and autorité" have " decided to take it again and recognize it like their more high ranking authority in all things of the theory and the pensée". Imagined and conceived by the Greeks (Plato) our idea of the authority will thus have functioned with full in the Roman Empire, where it rested in addition and above all on a " foundation in the passé". " The word auctoritas drift of the word augere, to increase, and what the authority or those which order increases constantly: it is the fondation".
With the fall of the Roman Empire, the Church becomes naturally holder of the " autorité" and reconstituted at the price of a fundamental transformation an indeformable trinity religion/tradition/authority (Hannah Arendt observes that never in the history, one of the three concepts did not weaken without involving the others in its own disappearance). The Church will have been the first touched by the weakening of the religion, but also by that of the tradition. After the Roman Empire, apart from it, politically, the authority will not nowhere have been re-established, even by the revolutions and their paradoxical propensity to take as a starting point the Roman foundation.
Freedom | Coercition
- Anarchisme (Bakounine defined the anarchist by " whoever is against the autorité")
- Authoritarianism: Political system
- Authority of the priesthood
- Argument of authority
Some quotations on the authority
- Authority - article of Voline drawn from the anarchistic Encyclopedia (initiated by Sebastien Faure).
- various forms from being able and authority (Words having " cratie" for root)
- Qualitionnaire - legal and normative Definitions - Authority
- a table mediologic and several articles on Influence and Authority
|Random links:||Venture in Australia | David Kaye | Bore | Scott Levy | Gábor Nagy | Dawsonville,_la_Géorgie|