Download Authority: A Sociological History by Frank Furedi PDF

By Frank Furedi

Quandary with authority is as outdated as human historical past itself. Eve's sin was once to problem the authority of God by way of disobeying his rule. Frank Furedi explores how authority used to be contested in historical Greece and given a robust that means in Imperial Rome. Debates approximately spiritual and secular authority ruled Europe throughout the center a long time and the Reformation. the fashionable global tried to improve new foundations for authority - democratic consent, public opinion, technology - but Furedi exhibits that this challenge has remained unresolved, arguing that at the present time the authority of authority is wondered. This historic sociology of authority seeks to give an explanation for how the modern difficulties of distrust and the lack of legitimacy of many associations are educated by way of the former makes an attempt to resolve the matter of authority. It argues that the most important pioneers of the social sciences (Marx, Durkheim, Simmel, Tonnies and particularly Weber) appeared this query as one of many imperative demanding situations dealing with society.

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Ideas about the sacred status of tradition, the law, and religion were questioned and demystified at a relative early stage of historical development. 24 Many thinkers associated with the Sophist movement drew a clear distinction between natural laws and forces – physis – and humanly constructed laws and customs – nomos. 26 The development of a Greek natural science and the tendency to counterpose physis to nomos occurred precisely at a time when sections of society had become conscious of the need to affirm tradition.

Although individuals might be referred to as kings, as an institution kingship had a very weak existence in the Homeric epics. 54 It was in this period that the nature of political leadership confronted people living in the city-states of Greece. ‘The dialogues of the epics repeatedly raise questions about the king’s 50 52 54 Nietzsche (2007) p. 13. Rose (1988) pp. 16–17. Launderville (2003) p. 70. 51 53 On this point see Hammer (1997) p. 4. Launderville (2003) p. 71. 55 These epics communicated a view of the world that touched on most of the issues confronting Greek political and public life, including the meaning of authority.

22 Ober (1998) p. 146. Gouldner (1971) pp. 133–4. 38 Socrates and the quest for authority contrasting its significance with medieval times. He acknowledges that ‘the appeal to authority often makes its appearance in Greek and Hellenistic philosophy in the sense of a confirmation and strengthening of an author’s own views, but not as a decisive and conclusive argument’. 23 What Windelband describes is a situation where authority lacks an institutional underpinning and a cultural foundation and is therefore open to continual critical questioning.

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