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According to general agreement, herrschaft is a basic category of sociological theory, a pivotal concept of political sociology and one, if not the, primary object of political science. How herrschaft emerges and elapses, above all how it constitutes itself, are key questions of political life. Who rules and who is being ruled is crucial in political thinking, but the word is often used without reflection or critique.

In general, herrschaft is understood as an asymmetrical social interrelation between one party issuing commands and the other party acting in obedience to orders. In this sense, a person, a group, or an organization can (temporarily) impose subordination upon others and expect that they will comply. It is an institution when characterized by regularity and success. Regardless of whether ...

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