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Collins Dictionary of Sociology, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2000
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



antidemocratic system of political rule characteristic of the most reactionary political systems of capitalist states, such as the fascist regimes in Germany, Italy, Spain, and elsewhere.

Authoritarianism is a totalitarian form of government or political regime under which procedures of democratic decision-making are either absent altogether or else are fictitious, existing merely for show. The power is not constituted or controlled by the people, who have no guarantees in the face of an absolute, uncontrolled authoritarian regime. Real power is concentrated in the hands of the ruling elite, which is selected by special procedures. Authoritarianism is characterized by excessive centralization, the monopolization of power by an elite who are organized in a strict hierarchy, outright reliance on the military-punitive apparatus, and the extensive use of terrorist reprisals against the opposition. Supreme power in an authoritarian state is usually concentrated in the hands of a so-called leader (Führer, duce, caudillo, etc.).

Characteristics of authoritarian ideology are demagoguery, the use of racial, nationalistic, religious, and other myths, and appeal to the indisputable authority of the so-called leader. The authoritarian regime constantly cultivates fanaticism and encourages fear among the masses.

The general crisis of capitalism is characterized by the curtailment of bourgeois democracy and the tendency toward autocratic and fascist methods of government. Despite the military collapse of Fascism in World War II (1939–45), authoritarian tendencies continue to exist. This is evidenced, in particular, by military-police coups in a number of countries, neo-Nazism and neo-Fascism, the striving of financial oligarchies to establish regimes of personal power, the tendency toward the use of emergency laws, and the prohibition in a number of countries of communist and workers’ parties and other progressive democratic organizations.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Bergson therefore asserts that the existence of a second type of morality which is different in kind from the morality of obligation.This kind of morality of course is characterized by appeal and aspiration, and it relates to man as man or to the ideal society inhabited by human beings rather than to the closed society in any of its forms.
But in a political system defined by the open-closed divide, the two sides disagree about which is which: It is always the other who seeks a closed society. The same dynamic that helped VladimE[degrees]r Meyiiar, Slovakia's nationalist former prime minister, win elections in the 1990s helped former Czech President VEiclav Klaus, an economic arch-liberal, secure victories in the 2000s.
BCCI has always worked as a closed society, but now it seems that the insinuations that all its dealings are not above board have more than a semblance of truth.
Globally, Saudi Arabia has a reputation as a closed society. But that's not entirely true anymore.
The MP stressed that the problems in Turkey are leading to a more closed society, one that is not as open and is lacking freedom of the press, and is also trying to limit communication on social media.
Many wonder if they'll be punished for hitting the open road in such a closed society. While no formal law exists in Saudi Arabia specifically barring women from driving, religious edicts are often interpreted there to mean it is illegal for females to do so.
When Japan was a fairly closed society, it developed a fairly idiosyncratic culture in that period [1600-1900].
They view the agency world as some kind of closed society, which, if only they could become a member of, they would be set.
A former editor at the Wall Street Journal editorial page, Kirkpatrick does the kind of work that many human-rights activists don't: reporting on a closed society. The late New York Sen.
The problem not only in Bulgaria but even in Romania is the transformation from closed society to open society, and from closed community to open university community.
He wants to change Britain from a closed society in which people know their place to an open one where people CHOOSE their place.
It's a very closed society. North Korea is a concern to me because I couldn't guess where any decision may be going.''