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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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.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 ?
Authoritarian regimes are involved in all of today's wars and humanitarian crises.
But it surely will neither lead hemisphere away from these authoritarian temptations, nor towards greater collective responsibility.
That is why the media critic Jay Rosen has been arguing for a new media logic for several months now, as authoritarian leaders have mastered the old one, and play it to their strength.
"Research suggests that authoritarian parenting is more of a negative style of parenting as compared to other parenting styles.
This version survives on authoritarian populism which selectively attacks sections of the free media and judicial institutions, disrupts politics, markets and social relationships by skillfully distorting, misinforming and faking the message and presentation.
Second, we expected to find significant differences between the parents' parenting styles from the two following generations, so that the descendant parents would perceive themselves as less authoritarian and more authoritative and permissive than their parents.
The committee, with a two-year mandate, is responsible for uncovering political documents that have been kept secret, examining potentially unjustified political prosecutions under the authoritarian regime, and possibly setting up trials or retrials for past cases.
Key Words: Domestic violence, Parenting style, Authoritarian, Authoritative, Depression, Punjab
The analytical trap is to assume that authoritarian governments, which suppress political pluralism and free expression in order to maintain power at home, would be inclined to act differently internationally.
'Today, I see it is published that Cambodia is an authoritarian regime.
The purpose of the present study was to demonstrate the predictive relationship between authoritarian parenting style and academic performance in school students.