Sociology Index

Authoritarianism

Dictatorship, Fascism, Military Dictatorship, Communist State, Stratocracy

Authoritarianism is a form of government characterized by the authority of the state in a republic or union. Authoritarianism is marked by indefinite political tenure. A political system controlled by nonelected rulers. Authoritarian political systems depends on performance or demands of the people and it is a challenge to authoritarianism to adapt to changes or to accommodate growing demands on the part of the populace or even groups within the system. Totalitarianism is considered to be an extreme version of authoritarianism.

Paul C. Sondrol of the Univ of Colorado argues that both authoritarians and totalitarianism are forms of autocracy. Unlike authoritarians, totalitarian dictators develop a charismatic 'mystique' and a mass-based, pseudo-democratic interdependence with their followers via the conscious manipulation of a prophetic image.

Linz distinguished new forms of authoritarianism from personalistic dictatorships and totalitarian states, taking Francoist Spain as an example. Linz identified the two most basic subtypes as traditional authoritarian regimes and bureaucratic-military authoritarian regimes. Linz also has identified three other subtypes of authoritarian regime: corporatist or organic-statistic, racial and ethnic "democracy" and post-totalitarian.