Appeals to authority have always played a key role in the construction of social problems. Authority legitimates claims, which is why claim-makers have always sought its validation. An exploration into the historical dimension of the social construction of authority provides insight into changing foundations on which claims about social problems are made. In contrast to the Middle Ages, the modern era has found it difficult to gain consensus on the meaning of authority. This historical shift in the status of authority provides the context for contemporary competitive claims-making about social problems.
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