authoritarianism

* * *

Principle of unqualified submission to authority, as opposed to individual freedom of thought and action.

As a political system, authoritarianism is antidemocratic in that political power is concentrated in a leader or small elite not constitutionally responsible to those governed. It differs from totalitarianism in that authoritarian governments usually lack a guiding ideology, tolerate some pluralism in social organization, lack the power to mobilize the whole population in pursuit of national goals, and exercise their power within relatively predictable limits. See also absolutism, dictatorship.

* * *

 principle of blind submission to authority, as opposed to individual freedom of thought and action. In government, authoritarianism denotes any political system that concentrates power in the hands of a leader or a small elite that is not constitutionally responsible to the body of the people. Authoritarian leaders often exercise power arbitrarily and without regard to existing bodies of law, and they usually cannot be replaced by citizens choosing freely among various competitors in elections. The freedom to create opposition political parties or other alternative political groupings with which to compete for power with the ruling group is either limited or nonexistent in authoritarian regimes.

      Authoritarianism thus stands in fundamental contrast to democracy. It also differs from totalitarianism, however, since authoritarian governments usually have no highly developed guiding ideology, tolerate some pluralism in social organization, lack the power to mobilize the entire population in pursuit of national goals, and exercise that power within relatively predictable limits. Examples of authoritarian regimes, according to some scholars, include the pro-Western military dictatorships that existed in Latin America and elsewhere in the second half of the 20th century.

* * *


Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Authoritarianism — describes a form of government characterized by an emphasis on the authority of the state in a republic or union.CharacteristicsTheodore M. Vestal of Oklahoma State University has written that authoritarianism is characterized by:* Highly… …   Wikipedia

  • authoritarianism — (n.) 1883; see AUTHORITARIAN (Cf. authoritarian) + ISM (Cf. ism). Early use mostly in communist jargon …   Etymology dictionary

  • authoritarianism — [[t]ɔːθɒ̱rɪte͟əriənɪzəm, AM θɔ͟ːr [/t]] N UNCOUNT Authoritarianism is the state of being authoritarian or the belief that people with power, especially the State, have the right to control other people s actions. [FORMAL] ...the long revolt… …   English dictionary

  • Authoritarianism — The term authoritarian is used to describe an organization or a state which enforces strong and sometimes oppressive measures against those in its sphere of influence, generally without attempts at gaining their consent and often not allowing… …   Mini philosophy glossary

  • authoritarianism — autoritarizmas statusas T sritis Politika apibrėžtis Vieno asmens arba nedidelės elito grupės valdymas be atsakomybės gyventojams ir jų sutikimo. Autoritarinis režimas remiasi paklusimo įsakymui idėja ir atmeta opozicijos galimybę – riboja… …   Politikos mokslų enciklopedinis žodynas

  • authoritarianism — authoritarian ► ADJECTIVE ▪ favouring or enforcing strict obedience to authority. ► NOUN ▪ an authoritarian person. DERIVATIVES authoritarianism noun …   English terms dictionary

  • authoritarianism — noun see authoritarian …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • authoritarianism — noun A form of government in which the governing body has absolute, or almost absolute, control. Typically this control is maintained by force, and little heed is paid to public opinion or the judicial system …   Wiktionary

  • authoritarianism — (Roget s Thesaurus II) noun A political doctrine advocating the principle of absolute rule: absolutism, autocracy, despotism, dictatorship, totalitarianism. See OVER, POLITICS …   English dictionary for students

  • authoritarianism — au|thor|i|tar|i|an|ism [ ɔ,θɔrı teriə,nızəm ] noun uncount the belief that people with power should control what other people can do, or a situation in which this happens …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”