Sociology Index


Dictatorship, Democracy, Military Dictatorship, Communist State, Libertarianism

Totalitarianism refers to a state that regulates nearly every aspect of public and private behavior of the people. Totalitarianism corresponds to pluralism. Paul C. Sondrol of the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs argues that the while both authoritarianism and totalitarianism are forms of autocracy. Totalitarianism is considered to be an extreme version of authoritarianism. Totalitarianism and authoritarianism differ in key dichotomies.

In totalitarianism, dictators develop a charismatic 'mystique' and a mass-based, pseudo-democratic interdependence with their followers via the conscious manipulation of a prophetic image. In totalitarianism, self-conceptions are largely teleological. The tyrant is less a person than an indispensable 'function' to guide and reshape the universe.

The utilisation of power for personal aggrandizement is more in evidence in authoritarianism than totalitarianism.

Sondrol, Paul C. "Totalitarian and Authoritarian Dictators: A Comparison of Fidel Castro and Alfredo Stroessner." Journal of Latin American Studies 23(3): October 1991.