Authority and authoritarianism - Psychology and pedagogy

Authority and authoritarian

The word authoritarian is associated with the word authority & quot ;. Authority - is the unconditional value or influence acquired by a person, many people, social institutions that does not need constant confirmation or proof. Authority is usually generally recognized, but not formal in the sense that it is born to itself, without coercion from the outside. Authority is based on knowledge, moral virtues, experience, traditions. There is a religious, political, scientific authority. In the narrow sense of the word, authority is one of the forms of exercising power.

Explaining the difference between the concepts power and "authority", Fromm wrote that power is not a quality that a person has, like any property or physical quality. Power, according to the scientist, is the result of interpersonal relations, in which one person looks at the other as a higher one in relation to himself. But there is a fundamental difference between the relations of higher and "lower", which can be defined as rational authority, and those relationships that can be called overwhelming power.

E. Fromm explained this difference with the following example. The relationship between the professor and the student is based on the superiority of the first over the second, as well as the relationship of the slaveholder and slave. But the interests of the professor and the student tend to coincide: the professor is pleased if he managed to help the student acquire new knowledge and contribute to his development as a person. If it did not work, then it's bad for both. The slave owner tries to exploit the slave: the more he squeezes out of the latter, the better for the slaveholder. The slave, in turn, in all ways tries to protect the share of happiness that is available to him. Here, interests are definitely antagonistic, since the gain of one turns out to be a loss for another. In these two cases, the superiority performs a variety of functions: in the first, it is a condition for assisting the lower, in the second, for the condition of its exploitation.

Different in these cases and the psychological situation of the subordinate. In the first case, the elements of love, admiration and gratitude prevail in the person. And here authority is not only power, but also an example with which one wants to partially or completely identify himself. In the second case, when submission causes the lowest damage, the latter has feelings of outrage and hatred towards the exploiter. However, the hatred of a slave can lead him to conflicts that will only aggravate his suffering, since he has very little chance of winning. In this regard, it is more natural for the subordinate not to struggle, but to suppress this feeling or even replace it with a sense of blind admiration.

The feeling of blind admiration fulfills two functions: first, it eliminates the painful and dangerous feeling of hatred, and secondly, softens the sense of humiliation. In fact, if the master is so amazing and beautiful, then the slave has nothing to be ashamed of his subordinate position. A slave can not be equal with a gentleman, because the latter is so much stronger, smarter, better than him. As a result, with oppressive power, either an increase in hatred towards it or an irrational overvaluation and admiration is inevitable. With a rational authority, these feelings get out, as the subordinate becomes stronger and, therefore, closer to his leader.

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