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What is authority?

Ekaterina Zhukova
Ekaterina Zhukova
February 24, 2015
What is authority?

The word authority came to us from German, and to German from Latin. But the German “Autorität” and the Latin „auctoritas” are literally translated as “power, influence”. The fact that such authority in general and in a narrow concept, and will be discussed further.

What is authority: the basic meanings of a word

The concept of “authority” in a general sense means the influence, significance of someone, and power based on this significance. In the narrow sense, authority is understood to mean the mental influence of a person, which encourages others to respect him. The authority is recognized as the possessor of not only excellent and recognized authority (position, status, etc.), but also outstanding wisdom, knowledge, skills, or virtue.

Who may have authority

In order to better understand what authority is, it should be remembered that true authority is never based on a violent influence on others. The significance of skills, knowledge, achievements of the carrier of authority for society as a whole (or for some particular sphere of social life) is recognized exclusively voluntarily, without real or symbolic coercion.A real authority can greatly influence the thoughts and attitudes of people, significantly and even radically change these attitudes, but only if people themselves desire it.

Authority is not earned by intimidation, blackmail, repression, and the like, by unlawful and criminal means. That is why the main condition for the influence of authority is legitimacy (legality, legitimacy). So, born in Russia in the 90s, the concept of authority as the head of a gangster group is not correct and is rather slang in nature. This authority, according to research scientists, is generated by the following factors:

  1. Traditions (for example, the authority of the church).
  2. By law.
  3. Charisma personality.
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