Power and Authority
Power is the ability of persons or groups to achieve their goals despite opposition from others (Weber. 1968/l922). Through the use of persuasion. authority. or force. some people are able to get others to acquiesce to their demands. Consequently, power is a social relationship that involves both leaders and followers. Power is also a dimension in the structure of social stratification. Persons in positions of power control valuable resources of society Including wealth, status. comfort, and safety and are able to direct the actions of others while protecting and enhancing the privileged social position of their class (Domhoff, 2(02). For example. the sociologist G. William Domhotf (2002) 31 guess that the media tend to reflect "the biases of those With access to them-corporate leaders, government officials, and policy experts." However. although Dornhoff believes the media can amplify the message of powerful people and marginalize the concerns of others, he does not think the media are 3S important as government officials and corporate leaders are in the u.s. power equation. What about power on a global basis? Although~h the most basic form of power is physical violence or force, most political leaders do not want to base their power on force alone. The sociologist Max Weber suggested that force is not the most effective long-term means of gaining compliance because those who are being ruled do not accept as legitimate those who are doing the ruling. Consequently, most leaders do not want to base their power on force alone; they seek to legitimize their power by turning it into all authority-power that people accept as legitimate rather than coercive.