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Crown, Politics, & etc., Part II
Following is the addendum to the previously sent discussion. As you
can see, most of the current discussion has happened again and again,
and should probably be added to the FAQ list of stuff not to clog the
From: Colin the Blackheart <br>
To: All <br>
Msg #67, 06-Jun-89 13:50mst<br>
Thank you, Ioseph, for presenting that series on politics in the SCA.
In a similar vein I present "Bases of Social Power", taken from notes
and text of
a Psychological Social Psychology class I had a year ago. Ref: Social
Psychology, John C. Brigham, FSU, 1986, Little, Brown, & company.
I have annotated and commented in the indented paragraphs like
<center>-<i>Ioseph of Locksley</i></center>
<center><h3> Bases of Social Power </h3></center>
<b><i> Social power</i></b> - <i>a person's capacity to alter the
actions of others</i>.
<p> This power consists of six types:<br>
<i>coercive, legitimate, reward, expert, referent, and
<p>Coercive power involves the ability to force another person to
change his or
her behavior by threats and punishments. . . Although coercive power
widely used, it is often ineffective, especially when utilized against
(Falbo, 1977). When a group is threatened with coercion, the threat
actually bring the group closer together (Tedeschi, 1974). . .
may be effective in causing compliance, but it is not likely to lead
identification or to private acceptance; the low-power person is
attribute his behavior to the (necessary) surveillance rather than to
worth of the behavior.
I have NEVER known coercive power to work well, in the context of
the SCA.....people tend to tell you to sit on a stick if you try
to use this on them....or just leave the group entirely...and the
degree of resentment/anger that the use of this provokes makes it
something to use very seldom. The ABILITY to use it is what makes
it powerful. The NON-USE of it, save in extreme circumstance, is
what marks the true Leader/Statesmen from the mass of
Law Enforcement people are taught this early on, at least around
here. They have the ultimate sanction (power of Life/Death) but
are taught to use verbal (non-violent) or non-lethal means FIRST.
<p>Legitimate power is derived from a role or position (warranted
household head, pointy hat, etc). Those who have it do not have to
their actions to those who do not (officially, anyway).
Much of the actual power in the SCA derives from one or another
form of hero-worship (referent power.) Thus, a Marshal who is
not a Peer has a difficult time doing his job when it comes to
the Belts.....or a simple Knight as Marshall has a difficult
time with a Duke, and even a King...or a BoD.....with no respect
finds that governing is much like pushing water uphill with a
<p>Reward power is giving positive reinforcement such as money,
prestige. Reward power can easily lead to compliance, but it may not
private acceptance. If the reward is removed, the new behavior may
. . individuals may attribute their behavior to the reward rather than
benefits of the behavior itself (overjustification effect)
effect of the merit-badge syndrome, eh?)
And therefore more power is given to the Peerage Circle when they
can advise that a candidate be given a lower-prestige award rather
than the Peerage....we have a SERIOUS merit-badge mentality in
quarters, here..."first give them their Barony Arts award, then
Principality Arts award, then the Kingdom Arts Award, and then,
if they haven't given up in disgust, the Laurel....."
This enables some Peers to go on feeling suPEERior...or something.
<p>Expert power is possessing important knowledge (and the capacity to
that others do not have. Chiurgeons, marshals, master (not necessarily
Master) craftsmen, etc. can be assumed to have expert power (although
may also have legitimate power).
But merely holding the office does not an expert make. And
<p>Referent power is the one I believe is most important. Power
derived from the
degree to which one is admired and liked is called referent power.
want to identify with others whom they consider admirable and
Hence, people have referent power over those who wish to identify with
(cultive personality). . . Unlike reward or coercive power, referent
does not require surveillance to be effective since the motivation to
identify with the model is not dependent on external rewards or
But BEWARE of the person that can fake hero-worship, or believes
it is hero-worship (admiration of an Ideal) on his part, but who
really is only after rewards......people like this DO exist.
The "functional sociopath" is an AMAZING, and very scary, critter.
It is rather amusing to watch those who THINK they have Referent
power with people, when actually all they hold is coercive/reward.
This makes for some VERY interesting situations, as a person with
referent power can command loyalty....while the coercive/reward
<p>Informational power is an individual possessing information that
not. The eyewitness to an arguement can influence others who did not
even know about the arguement. Informational power is limited to the
situation for which the information is relevant.
This is one of the sources of Rumor. An individual wants to
powerful, so he embroiders information....or sets out to collect
or sets up a situation to create it.....and then becomes one of
Who Know. In his/her mind, they become a source of Referent Power!
The more you can base your own position on MORE THAN ONE OR TWO of
the above, the more secure you will be. For example, a Duke of
charisma winning the Crown.....he winds up holding by all six
nicely. HOWEVER, given the same situation with a Duke that is not
respected.....HOO BOY! The lack of adequate referent power would
his reign a living Hell for him and the populace!
<i>His Grace Duke Cariadoc of the Bow comments:</i><br>
<p>Ioseph suggests that our kings are constitutional rather than
monarchs. I disagree. In my view, SCA kings are neither constitutional
absolute monarchs. They are feudal monarchs. That may be less true in
West than in the East or Middle, but I think it is fundamentally true
<p>Why do I say that? While it is true that our kings have some formal
restraints on what they can do (corpora and mundane law), the main
is that, as Ioseph points out, people who disagree with the king will
or ignore him. That is the essential feudal constraint. The defining
characteristic of a feudal order, in my view, is that the combined
the barons are much larger than the army of the king. Generalizing
feudal order is one where the relevant resources are controlled at the
level, with the result that the king is some combination of coalition
and charismatic leader (i.e., inspiring local people with his vision
the organization should be doing). I think that describes our kings.
<p>A constitutional monarch is limited in his authority over the
the government he is king over typically has a lot of centralized
its society. Queen Elizabeth II has very limited power over her army,
army has essentially all of the heavy weapons in Britain. An analogous
situation for the SCA would be if most of us were employees of our
(as in a Renaissance fair), but the kingdom was run by some
system involving king, great officers, etc., where the king himself
severely limited power. That is not (fortunately) what the SCA is
Almost all of the important resources (mostly human, but also
belong to and are controlled by the local membership.<br>
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