If the problem of power at the municipal, regional, and federal levels is mainly perceived as the subject of various specialists’ active research, the supranational level of power and authority in the political society is still not studied and discussed systematically and deeply. Power and authority in their general philosophical understanding are mainly considered as the ability of social subjects to exercise their will, using a variety of resources and technology (authority, power, tradition, law, technology, and conscious manipulation). In this context, the essence of power and political social relations are leadership and subordination, which are based on the accumulation of ideological information. This is done in order to determine the general course of development of the society in a narrow environment and within certain social groups.
Every state has its own concept of development goals. In this condition, power and authority in the political society are to be represented by the power of people and concepts that can give rise to social processes in the society, covering the life of the society for many generations in perspective of both the past and the future. The lack of understanding or underestimation of power and authority in the political society, especially in the context of civilizational challenges, are fraught with the loss of culture, state, and national identity. Therefore, the paper focuses on proving the fact that power and authority play an important role in the political society, shaping its values and creating the basis for the social order to support the society and make it thrive.
The problem relating to the role and importance of the power and authority in the political society is one of the most pressing problems in social sciences and humanities. Its study has been covered by philosophers, historians, sociologists, and political scientists, as well as economists. The power and authority in the political society are generally understood as a type of power, which is exercised by the state in public and in the public system, as well as in the system of political parties, organizations, and movements. Besides, power and authority in the political society are connected with the state and state regulation, but they are not necessarily to be a kind of public authority. From the perspective of the political society, it means that every government is political, but not any kind of political power is a state one. State and political power have a different field for the realization of their powers, various methods of achieving objectives, and different scopes of authority (Plato 15). Subjects of political power, in contrast to the state one, can not apply the method of coercion, but only the method of persuasion. Only subjects of public authorities have the right to issue regulations having an obligatory character.
To understand comprehensively the role of power and authority in the political society, it is important to keep in mind that state power is implemented through objective and subjective spheres; therefore, its structure is intertwined with elements of ideal and material phenomena. Tangible elements include government agencies and people working in them. The ideal elements of power are state will, credibility of the government, and the state ideology. National will is formed in the process of mastering the public authority and is subject to conscious self-regulation of the activity of the government and provide facilities to overcome the resistance power. Each of these aspects is of great importance when denoting the role of power and authority in the political society.
Through the perspective of power and authority in the political society, the will manifests itself in its conscious activity to achieve political goals, as well as ability and determination to achieve them. The loss of the will to power leads to the loss of power. The authority may be embodied as the general will of the subject of the supreme state authority, the ruling class (which may be represented by the nation, the race, the group, and so on) or the entire nation. The authority of the power in the political society is generally accepted in the country and outside due to the influence of the subject of the power and the willingness to obey its orders. Hence, this is possible to promote by the spread of ideology. As a consequence, one of the roles played by power and authority in the political society is ideology. Along with this, ideology is the basis of power and authority in the political society.
Ideology is known to be a set of ideas and views designed to formulate objects of authority and power view of the legitimacy of state power on the origin and methods of implementation, and the justice of the existing economic, political, and other social relations. Herein, the institutional approach to the analysis of power is the most important socio-political institution, which reveals its main characteristics: violence, control, regulation, and organization. It means that it can be exercised in communities, regions, countries, and even in the world in general and cannot be purely repressive or, oppositely, purely democratic. Hence, in this regard, there are some other roles of power and authority in the political society. Thus, they are supposed to ensure legitimacy (i.e. voluntary support of the majority of the power of the population) and perform determination of power (which presupposes the ability to set goals based on consensus or corporate social consensus). Besides, the conceptual definition of power on objectives and means of achieving the chosen objectives is done by authority and power. Furthermore, power and authority in the political society determine the efficiency of power (which means the ability to reach the intended target at the lowest cost power resources). Finally, power and authority in the political society provide an ability to predict consequences of their decisions and actions on the basis of the above qualities. Due to these roles, it is possible to claim that power and authority in the political society exercise force only when protecting their own legitimacy or power. Otherwise, none of the roles mentioned above is impossible to be played. In this regard, Machiavelli believes that all states (the form of government and a certain territory) in the form of government should be divided into republics, state-controlled autocratic countries, and the license (the worst kind, as he believed) (57). The state, according to Machiavelli, can buy its own weapons or valor. In new states, to retain power is easier or more difficult, depending on how large the valor of the sovereign is (Machiavelli 60). According to Machiavelli, it is difficult to conquer power by whoever follows the valor, but it is easy to hold it using weapons (65). The main difficulty lies in the fact that conquerors have to enter the new setting and order, without which it is impossible to establish the state and secure safety (Machiavelli 70).
Regardless of the sources of the power, the concept of ‘government’ as the foundation of the content of the phenomenon of power is a system of structural management of the society in a professional manner and in accordance with applicable rules of the international and constitutional law. Hence, despite the source of power (epistemological, intellectual, economic, legal, etc.) social processes of management performed by the authority and power are based on the change in the nature of interaction, primarily two information systems: the human psyche and information environment. Power affects the human psyche both directly and through the information environment (media, education, culture, and so on). This may lead to a more profound ideology spread and propaganda. Effectiveness of this control increases substantially due to the skilful combination of influences on the consciousness and the unconscious levels of the human psyche by forming a matrix of information (systems of stereotypes). The process of governing the society forms the power and authority’s specific focus on the occurring socio-economic and political processes, stages of social development, or the measure of degradation necessary in the interests of a third party.
The power in the political society is the highest hierarchical level of authority in the system of social management. With its level of the whole mechanism, ostensibly opposing parties and movements are formed and its level is represented by the unstructured management in relation to legislative, executive, and judicial authorities. Thus, there are other roles that power and authority play in the political society.
One of the roles of power in the political society is that it develops a living arrangement of the society (the concept) and implicitly embeds it into the mass consciousness of the society. Furthermore, authority and power design a plan of the living arrangement of the society (concept) in the form that would be attractive to the public, which is completely subordinated to the power representatives and serves their interests only. That is the ideological compound of power plays the role of a bridge between political power and the rest of the society. The role of the legislative power under the influence of ideological power is to compose laws under the concepts developed, i.e. to legally enshrine it as the legal field. This tool is of importance because it professionally explains to the political society why a certain public act had been dangerous before, but now is not (e.g., homosexuality: the first extreme point has been the article on criminal behavior, while now there is the other extreme point, wherein it is either promotion of mental deviations or a norm).
The role of the executive branch is that it governs the society (mainly the prevalence of structural control method) according to the concept of enacting laws and within the legal framework. The judicial power protects the legally enshrined concept of infringement by alternative conceptual power and suppressed dissent, as well as criminal elements of the society. Thus, it is necessary to clearly separate the concept of crime and depravity as an individual can harm the society ‘under the law’ and being a righteous man is a vicious law.
Authority and power in the political society always work proactively to ensure predictability of the stability. It is the beginning and end of all control loops, which is the highest type of the political society’s inner power. The use of power tools is based on the fact that they are implemented as autocratic and have control over the society. They are a certain concept, which the public serves. An ordinary understanding of the absence of a management structure creates the illusion of uncontrollability of the social process and management by the ‘predictor – corrector’ scheme, which is known only to narrow specialists in relation to cybernetics and automated control systems, but not in relation to the society and the state. Nevertheless, the control circuit ‘predictor – corrector’ has long been successfully used in the authority and power of social and political processes. The role of the predictor is implicitly performed by a non-formalized social institution of the conceptual power and the role of the corrector is an institution of the civil society.
Thus, the political society is a social system in which all the functions are carried out through the interaction of autonomous individuals, i.e. citizens, taking into account the dimension of their existence, rights, responsibilities, opportunities, and interests; however, all of these aspects are governed by the higher institution, i.e. by power (Foucault 25). As a rule, a real ‘mechanism’ of authority and power in the political society is produced in the course of social evolution when standards of human interactions reveal their ownership and reliance on strengths and abilities of social cooperative individuals. Due to the roles performed by authority and power in the political society, its subsystems, structures, institutions, and social positions find ‘direct’ communication with individuals and joint activities of people with its overall dimensions. Dependence of individuals on positions of institutions and subsystems of the society determines change in the society, as well as roles of authority and power in it. Thus, people practically become an active social force that makes efficient separation and integration of the society as a system of connections.
Authority and power in the political society control all kinds of executive authority in traditional societies. Controlling function is based on the analysis of opportunities and trends to implement them, it does not impose anything on anyone, but merely a non-record structure implements decisions that have nurtured its works and matured the national ‘elite,’ drowning out proactively and eliminating unwanted tendencies. Due to the fact that every society is to some extent governed by the concept, according to which control takes place, an objective phenomenon exists and is valid even if the society or its representatives are not aware of this concept of control (Scott 32). However, psychology and outlook of people in their majority is that it results in the creation of various kinds of structures.
Herein, it is paramount to turn back to ideology as an essential role and basis of authority and power in the political society. Ideology serves as a product of ideological power controlled by the power of concepts. This is the power’s ideology to promote tools and sources of authority and determine the political order of the society (Rousseau 65). Herein, for example, democratic ideology is to be taken. Hence, the main problem is not methods and timing of the vote, as well as not improvement of democratic procedures. The main problem of building a true democracy consists in building a society, in which the autocratic conceptual power is available to all. To solve this problem, the state should create conditions in the society so that everyone would be able to get as much as a high quality education in strict compliance with the accessibility of education. Hence, to sum up, it is possible to claim that regardless of forms and resources of power, it plays a significant role in the political society by shaping its mechanism of existence and determining rules according to which people are expected and supposed to live. Such ‘rules of a game’ can change and vary under the pressure of time and various external conditions; however, in any case authority and power create themselves and sustain themselves with the help of such tools as ideology and force.