Max Weber II: Bureaucracy and Politics February 20, 2012 Instructor: Sarah Whetstone Readings and Key Concepts • “The Distribution of Power within the Political Community: Class, Status, Party”  – Social Class (economic power) – Social Status (honor) – Party (authority to rule, domination over others) • “The Types of Legitimate Domination”  – – – – Power and legitimacy Charismatic Domination Traditional Domination Rational-Legal Domination • “Bureaucracy”  – Bureaucracy as ideal type – Iron cage What determines how much power you have? Well, you know, there are two great camps– the workers and the capitalists! It’s all about the class divide, and your place in the economic order. I think not. Class is only one component of power. Status and authority determine one’s social position, too! opportunities to get what you want and enjoy it “We may speak of a ‘class’ when (1) a number of people have in common a specific causal component of their life chances, insofar as (2) this component is represented exclusively by economic interests in the possession of goods and opportunities for income, and (3) is represented under the conditions of the commodity or labor market.” (p. 248) economic power—the ability to procure goods and services income and profit are the desired goals In other words, classes can be objectively defined by shared life chances and economic power. "Thus every class may be the carrier of any one of innumerable possible forms of … action.” • What does Weber mean here? • People seek and identify with different situations and goals, not just economic one. • Status (component of one’s identity), or party (political power) are influential, too. • Individuals may not act on “class interests.” they are groups because they have sustained patterns of social action “In contrast to classes, status groups are normally groups. They are, however, often an amorphous kind. In contrast to the purely economic determined ‘class situation,’ we wish to designate as status situation every typical component of life of men that is determined by a specific, positive or negative, social estimation of honor.” (p. 251) class situations are based objectively on market situations based subjectively on esteem or respect paid by others Oftentimes status groups and classes are coterminous, forming social strata. Weber on status versus class identities Status groups: a cohesive group organized around conceptions of honor & dishonor Status groups are united by a way of life… Too much class difference within status groups undermines cohesion Class: a set of people who share life chances determined by their access to income or wealth. Classes are united by their objective economic interests. However they will only become a group if they see those interests – which for Weber only happens in periods of particular class “transparency” Status groups Status group is a very broad concept Status groups: organized around conceptions of honor & dishonor Some status groups are hierarchal and ultimately coercive, others more voluntary Some status groups are temporary, others lifelong master status. But all status groups groups are tied together by common value systems United by a way of life: dress, and other forms of material culture cultural practices (spatial) community Different forms of status groups: ethnicity race caste subculture gender profession or trade Racial Segregation as Status Boundary “Jim Crow” – Segregation in US South Clothing Retail and Status Display “How to Marry the Rich,” from People Like Us: Social Class in America http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yvibi2Cph-E Group Discussion: Critique of Marx from the Perspective of Max Weber How does Weber's concept of status contribute to or challenge the Marxist idea of class and class struggle in capitalist societies? Power and Legitimacy: Types of Legitimate Domination • Power – “the chance of a man or number of men to realize their own will in a social action even against the resistance of others who are participating in the action” – Weber’s third element of social stratification • Non-legitimate power – By force or coercion • Legitimate power – socially given “right,” or authority, to enforce rule – Charismatic – devotion to exemplary person – Traditional – belief in sanctity of tradition – Legal-Rational – rules are laws are “rational” to obey because they are fair Based on devotion to the exceptional sanctity, heroism, or extraordinary qualities of an individual. How is charisma a revolutionary force? Justified by a belief in customs, traditions, and long-standing ways of doing things. (1) Social action bound to specific traditions. (2) Social action free of specific rules. Occurs in small groups and households, so no administrative apparatus is necessary. People move up the ladder based on loyalty to the leader. Lines of authority are blurry. Authority based on the legality of rules and laws that outline the appropriate actions of people in control. We follow orders because we believe in the process, even if we do not like the people in office. The administrative apparatus of a ration-legal system is a bureaucracy… Legitimate Rules Is this sign representing A legitimate rule? Why? Depends on authority of sign poster. Voluntary compliance – We have an “interest” in our own domination. Legitimacy makes for stability! There “Definite hierarchy of offices” Useless multiplication of offices George Tooker Bureaucracy as Iron Cage: “Specialists without Spirit” Other problems with bureaucracy… --Denial of responsibility -- “Just following orders” – mindless acceptance of duties -- Extreme cases: The Holocaust (Bauman) Bureaucracy in Office Space and Brazil http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fy3rjQGc 6lA&feature=related http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mu1iND6v tcE Increasing Rationalization… Leads to “Iron Cage” of the modern world – Reduced individual creativity or initiative… Weber and Kafka drowning in the sea of modern bureaucracy… Group Discussion: Bureaucracy • Pick a bureaucracy, and explain how it fits some of the major features of bureaucracy, as outlined by Weber in the text. • How might the bureaucracy you chose resemble an “iron cage?” In other words, how does the rationalization of social life sometimes end up being irrational or inefficient?