Democracy, Fascism, Military Dictatorship, Communist
State, Stratocracy, Totalitarianism,
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 the while both authoritarians and
totalitarianism are forms of autocracy, they differ in "key dichotomies":
(1) Unlike their bland and generally unpopular authoritarian brethren,
totalitarian dictators develop a charismatic 'mystique' and a mass-based,
pseudo-democratic interdependence with their followers via the conscious manipulation of a
(2) Concomitant role conceptions differentiate totalitarians from authoritatians.
Authoritarians view themselves as indvidual beings, largely content to control; and
maintain the status quo. Totalitarian self-conceptions are largely teleological. The
tyrant is less a person than an indispensable 'function' to guide and reshape the
(3) Consequently, the utilisation of power for personal aggrandizement is more evidence
among authoritarians than totalitarians. Lacking the binding appeal of ideology,
authoritarians support their rule by a mixture of instilling fear and granting rewards to
loyal collaborators, engendering a kleptocracy.
Sondrol, Paul C. "Totalitarian and Authoritarian Dictators: A Comparison of
Fidel Castro and Alfredo Stroessner." Journal of Latin American Studies 23(3):