The article aims at demonstrating that authority is a complex and multifaceted phenomenon. An overview of numerous definitions and theories of authority serves as a point of departure that leads to the reconstruction of the typologies of authority existing in social sciences and to qualifying the functions of authority. The place of the phenomenon in social life is revealed by the analysis of its key operation mechanisms and impact areas. Theoretical definitions and typologies form the background for concentrating on authority in local communities, since its social role (e.g. inspirational, regulatory and integrative) at this level is exceptionally important from the perspective of social order maintenance and local communities' development.
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
SYNAT - “Interdisciplinary System for Interactive Scientific and Scientific-Technical Information”.