authoritarian
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Authoritarianism is a
form of government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department ...
characterized by the rejection of
political plurality Pluralism as a political philosophy is the recognition and affirmation of diversity within a political body, which is seen to permit the peaceful coexistence of different interests, convictions, and lifestyles. While not all political pluralists a ...
, the use of a strong central power to preserve the political ''
status quo is a Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman Republic, ...
'', and reductions in the
rule of law The rule of law is defined in the ''Oxford English Dictionary The ''Oxford English Dictionary'' (''OED'') is the principal historical dictionary of the English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language ...

rule of law
,
separation of powers Separation of powers refers to the division of a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' ( ...
, and
democratic voting Democracy ( gr, δημοκρατία, ''dēmokratiā'', from ''dēmos'' 'people' and ''kratos'' 'rule') is a form of government in which people, the people have the authority to choose their governing legislators. The decisions on who is consi ...
. Political scientists have created many typologies describing variations of authoritarian forms of government. Authoritarian regimes may be either
autocratic Autocracy is a system of government in which supreme power over a State (polity), state is concentrated in the hands of one person, whose decisions are subject to neither external legal restraints nor regularized mechanisms of popular control (exc ...
or
oligarchic Oligarchy (; ) is a form of power structure A power structure is an overall system of influence between any individual and every other individual within any selected group of people. A description of a power structure would capture the way in w ...
in nature and may be based upon the rule of a
party 300px, '' Hip, Hip, Hurrah!'' (1888) by Peder Severin Krøyer, a painting portraying an artists' party in 19th century Denmark A party is a gathering of people who have been invited by a host A host is a person responsible for guests at a ...
or the
military A military, also known collectively as armed forces, is a heavily armed, highly organized force primarily intended for warfare War is an intense armed conflict between State (polity), states, governments, Society, societies, or par ...
. In an influential 1964 work, the political scientist
Juan Linz ''Juan'' is a given name A given name (also known as a first name or forename) is the part of a quoted in that identifies a person, potentially with a as well, and differentiates that person from the other members of a group (typically a ...
defined authoritarianism as possessing four qualities: # Limited political pluralism, realized with constraints on the
legislature A legislature is an assembly Assembly may refer to: Organisations and meetings * Deliberative assembly A deliberative assembly is a gathering of members (of any kind of collective) who use parliamentary procedure Parliamentary procedure i ...
,
political parties A political party is an organization that coordinates candidates to compete in a particular country's elections. It is common for the members of a party to hold similar ideas about politics, and parties may promote specific political ideology ...
and
interest group Advocacy groups, also known as special interest groups, use various forms of advocacy Advocacy is an activity by an individual or group that aims to influence decisions within political, economic, and social institutions. Advocacy include ...
s. #
Political legitimacy In political science Political science is the scientific study of politics. It is a social science dealing with systems of governance and power, and the analysis of politics, political activities, political thoughts, political behavior, and as ...
based upon appeals to emotion and identification of the regime as a necessary evil to combat "easily recognizable societal problems, such as
underdevelopment Underdevelopment, relating to international development, reflects a broad condition or phenomena defined and critiqued by theorists in fields such as economics, development studies, and postcolonial studies. Used primarily to distinguish states alo ...
or
insurgency An insurgency is a violent, armed rebellion against authority waged by small, lightly armed bands who practice Guerrilla warfare, guerilla warfare from primarily rural base areas. The key descriptive feature of insurgency is its asymmetric natu ...
". # Minimal
political mobilizationMass mobilization (also known as social mobilization or popular mobilization) refers to mobilization Mobilization is the act of assembling and readying military troops and supplies for war. The word ''mobilization'' was first used in a militar ...
and suppression of anti-regime activities. # Ill-defined executive powers, often vague and shifting, which extends the power of the executive. Minimally defined, an authoritarian government lacks free and competitive
direct election Direct election is a system of choosing political officeholders in which the voters directly cast ballots for the persons or political party that they desire to see elected. The method by which the winner or winners of a direct election are chosen ...
s to
legislature A legislature is an assembly Assembly may refer to: Organisations and meetings * Deliberative assembly A deliberative assembly is a gathering of members (of any kind of collective) who use parliamentary procedure Parliamentary procedure i ...
s, free and competitive direct or
indirect election An election with electoral delegates is an election An election is a formal group decision-making process by which a population chooses an individual or multiple individuals to hold Public administration, public office.
s for
executives Executive may refer to: Role, title, or function * Executive (government), branch of government that has authority and responsibility for the administration of state bureaucracy * Executive, a senior management role in an organization ** Chief exec ...
, or both. Broadly defined, authoritarian states include countries that lack the
civil liberties Civil liberties are guarantees and freedoms that governments commit not to abridge, either by constitution, legislation Legislation is law which has been promulgation, promulgated (or "enactment of a bill, enacted") by a legislature or other Gover ...
such as
freedom of religion Freedom of religion or religious liberty is a principle that supports the freedom of an individual or community, in public or private, to manifest religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship, and observance. It also includes the freed ...
, or countries in which the government and the
opposition Opposition may refer to: Arts and media * Opposition (Altars EP), ''Opposition'' (Altars EP), 2011 EP by Christian metalcore band Altars * The Opposition (band), a London post-punk band * ''The Opposition with Jordan Klepper'', a late-night tele ...
do not alternate in power at least once following free elections. Authoritarian states might contain nominally democratic institutions such as political parties, legislatures and elections which are managed to entrench authoritarian rule and can feature fraudulent, non-competitive elections. Since 1946, the share of authoritarian states in the international political system increased until the mid-1970s, but declined from then until the year 2000.


Characteristics

Authoritarianism is characterized by highly concentrated and
centralized government#REDIRECT Centralized government A centralized government (also united government) is one in which both executive and legislative power is concentrated centrally at the higher level as opposed to it being more distributed at various lower level g ...
power maintained by
political repression Political repression is the act of a state entity controlling a citizenry by force for political reasons, particularly for the purpose of restricting or preventing the citizenry's ability to take part in the political life of a society ...
and the exclusion of potential challengers. It uses
political parties A political party is an organization that coordinates candidates to compete in a particular country's elections. It is common for the members of a party to hold similar ideas about politics, and parties may promote specific political ideology ...
and mass organizations to mobilize people around the goals of the regime.Theodore M. Vesta, '' Ethiopia: A Post-Cold War African State'. Greenwood, 1999, p. 17.
Adam Przeworski Adam Przeworski (; born May 5, 1940) is a Polish-American professor of political science Political science is the scientific study of politics. It is a social science dealing with systems of governance and power, and the analysis of politics, pol ...
has theorized that "authoritarian equilibrium rests mainly on lies, fear and economic prosperity". Authoritarianism also tends to embrace the informal and unregulated exercise of
political power In social science Social science is the Branches of science, branch of science devoted to the study of society, societies and the Social relation, relationships among individuals within those societies. The term was formerly used to refe ...
, a leadership that is "self-appointed and even if elected cannot be displaced by citizens' free choice among competitors", the arbitrary deprivation of
civil liberties Civil liberties are guarantees and freedoms that governments commit not to abridge, either by constitution, legislation Legislation is law which has been promulgation, promulgated (or "enactment of a bill, enacted") by a legislature or other Gover ...
and little tolerance for meaningful
opposition Opposition may refer to: Arts and media * Opposition (Altars EP), ''Opposition'' (Altars EP), 2011 EP by Christian metalcore band Altars * The Opposition (band), a London post-punk band * ''The Opposition with Jordan Klepper'', a late-night tele ...
. A range of
social control Social control is a concept Concepts are defined as abstract ideas or general notions that occur in the mind, in speech, or in thought. They are understood to be the fundamental building blocks of thoughts and belief A belief is an Attitud ...
s also attempt to stifle
civil society Civil society can be understood as the "third sector" of society, distinct from government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a State (polity), state. In the case of its broad ...
while political stability is maintained by control over and support of the
armed forces A military, also known collectively as armed forces, is a heavily armed, highly organized force primarily intended for warfare War is an intense armed conflict between State (polity), states, governments, Society, societies, or para ...
, a bureaucracy staffed by the regime and creation of
allegiance An allegiance is a duty of fidelity said to be owed, or freely committed, by the people, subjects or citizen Citizenship is a relationship between an individual and a state to which the individual owes allegiance and in turn is entitled to it ...
through various means of
socialization In sociology, socialization is the process of Internalisation (sociology), internalizing the Norm (social), norms and Ideology, ideologies of society. Socialization encompasses both learning and teaching and is thus "the means by which social an ...
and indoctrination. Authoritarianism is marked by "indefinite political tenure" of the ruler or
ruling party The ruling party or governing party in a democratic Democrat, Democrats, or Democratic may refer to: *A proponent of democracy Democracy ( gr, δημοκρατία, ''dēmokratiā'', from ''dēmos'' 'people' and ''kratos'' 'rule') is a fo ...
(often in a
one-party state A one-party state, single-party state, one-party system, or single-party system is a type of sovereign state A sovereign state is a political entity that is represented by one centralized government that has sovereignty over a geographic area. ...
) or other authority. The transition from an authoritarian system to a more
democratic Democrat, Democrats, or Democratic may refer to: *A proponent of democracy Democracy ( gr, δημοκρατία, ''dēmokratiā'', from ''dēmos'' 'people' and ''kratos'' 'rule') is a form of government in which people, the people have the a ...

democratic
form of government is referred to as
democratization Democratization, or democratisation, is the transition to a more democratic political regime In politics, a regime (also known as "régime", from the original French spelling) is the form of government or the set of rules, cultural or social n ...
.


Constitutions in authoritarian regimes

Authoritarian regimes often adopt "the institutional trappings" of democracies such as
constitution A constitution is an aggregate of fundamental principles A principle is a proposition or value that is a guide for behavior or evaluation. In law, it is a rule Rule or ruling may refer to: Human activity * The exercise of political ...

constitution
s. Constitutions in authoritarian states may serve a variety of roles, including "operating manual" (describing how the government is to function); "billboard" (signal of regime's intent), "blueprint" (outline of future regime plans), and "window dressing" (material designed to obfuscate, such as provisions setting forth freedoms that are not honored in practice). Authoritarian constitutions may help legitimize, strengthen, and consolidate regimes. An authoritarian constitution "that successfully coordinates government action and defines popular expectations can also help consolidate the regime's grip on power by inhibiting re coordination on a different set of arrangements". Unlike democratic constitutions, authoritarian constitutions do not set direct limits on executive authority; however, in some cases such documents may function as ways for elites to protect their own property rights or constrain autocrats' behavior. The concept of "authoritarian constitutionalism" has been developed by legal scholar
Mark Tushnet Mark Victor Tushnet (born 18 November 1945) specializes in constitutional law and theory, including comparative constitutional law, and is currently the William Nelson Cromwell Professor of Legal education, Law at Harvard Law School. Tushnet is ide ...

Mark Tushnet
.Tushnet, Mark (January 2015)
"Authoritarian Constitutionalism"
. ''Cornell Law Review''. Cambridge University Press. 100 (2): 36–50. .
Tushnet distinguishes authoritarian constitutionalist regimes from "liberal constitutionalist" regimes ("the sort familiar in the modern West, with core commitments to human rights and self-governance implemented by means of varying institutional devices") and from purely authoritarian regimes (which reject the idea of human rights or constraints on leaders' power). He describes authoritarian constitutionalist regimes as (1) authoritarian
dominant-party A dominant-party system, or one-party dominant system is a political system in which opposition groups or parties are permitted, but a single party dominates election results. Any ruling party staying in power for more than one consecutive t ...
states that (2) impose sanctions (such as libel judgments) against, but do not arbitrarily arrest, political dissidents; (3) permits "reasonably open discussion and criticism of its policies"; (4) hold "reasonably free and fair elections", without systemic intimidation, but "with close attention to such matters as the drawing of election districts and the creation of party lists to ensure as best it can that it will prevail—and by a substantial margin"; (5) reflect at least occasional responsiveness to public opinion; and (6) create "mechanisms to ensure that the amount of dissent does not exceed the level it regards as desirable".


Economy

Scholars such as Seymour Lipset, Carles Boix,
Susan StokesSusan Carol Stokes (born 1959) is an American political scientist and the Tiffany and Margaret Blake Distinguished Service Professor in the Political Science department of the University of Chicago The University of Chicago (UChicago, U of C, or ...
, Dietrich Rueschemeyer, Evelyne Stephens and John Stephens argue that economic development increases the likelihood of democratization. Adam Przeworski and
Fernando Limongi Fernando de Magalhães Papaterra Limongi is a Brazil Brazil ( pt, Brasil; ), officially the Federative Republic of Brazil (Portuguese: ), is the largest country in both South America South America is a continent entirely in the Wes ...
argue that while economic development makes democracies less likely to turn authoritarian, there is insufficient evidence to conclude that development causes democratization (turning an authoritarian state into a democracy). Eva Bellin argues that under certain circumstances the bourgeoise and
labor Labour or labor may refer to: * Childbirth Childbirth, also known as labour or delivery, is the ending of pregnancy where one or more babies leaves the uterus by passing through the vagina or by Caesarean section. In 2015, there were about 13 ...
are more likely to favor democratization, but less so under other circumstances. Economic development can boost public support for authoritarian regimes in the short-to-medium term. According to Michael Albertus, most tend to be implemented by authoritarian regimes that subsequently withhold
property rights The right to property, or the right to own property (cf. ownership) is often classified as a human right for natural persons regarding their possessions. A general recognition of a right to private property is found more rarely and is typically hea ...
from the beneficiaries of the land reform. Authoritarian regimes do so to gain coercive leverage over rural populations.


Institutions

Within authoritarian systems, there may be nominally democratic institutions such as political parties, legislatures and elections, but they are managed in a way so as to entrench authoritarian regimes. Within democracies, parties serve to coordinate the pursuit of interests for like-minded citizens, whereas in authoritarian systems, they are a way for authoritarian leaders to find capable elites for the regime. In a democracy, a legislature is intended to represent the diversity of interests among citizens, whereas authoritarians use legislatures to signal their own restraint towards other elites as well as to monitor other elites who pose a challenge to the regime. Fraudulent elections may serve the role of signaling the strength of the regime (to deter elites from challenging the regime), as well as force other elites to demonstrate their loyalty to the regime, whereas in democracies, free and fair elections are used to select representatives who represent the will of the citizens. Elections may also motivate authoritarian party members to strengthen patron–client and information-gathering networks, which strengthens the authoritarian regime. Elections may also motivate members of the ruling class to engage in public goods provision. According to one study, "most dictatorships led by parties have regular popular elections". Prior to the 1990s, most of these elections had no alternative parties or candidates for voters to vote on. Since the end of the Cold War, about two-thirds of elections in authoritarian systems allow for some opposition, but the elections are structured in a way to heavily favor the incumbent authoritarian regime. Hindrances to free and fair elections in authoritarian systems may include: * Control of the media by the authoritarian incumbents. * Interference with opposition campaigning. * Electoral fraud. * Violence against opposition. * Large-scale spending by the state in favor of the incumbents. * Permitting of some parties, but not others. * Prohibitions on opposition parties, but not independent candidates. * Allowing competition between candidates within the incumbent party, but not those who are not in the incumbent party.


Interactions with other elites and the masses

The foundations of stable authoritarian rule are that the authoritarian prevents contestation from the masses and other elites. The authoritarian regime may use co-optation or repression (or carrots and sticks) to prevent revolts. In the 2010s, Kazakhstan has unsuccessfully tried to mobilize citizens and police to cooperate through the zero tolerance policing of petty crimes.


Manipulation of information

According to a 2019 study by Sergei Guriev and Daniel Treisman, authoritarian regimes have over time become less reliant on violence and mass repression to maintain control. The study shows instead that authoritarians have increasingly resorted to manipulation of information as a means of control. Authoritarians increasingly seek to create an appearance of good performance, conceal state repression, and imitate democracy.


Systemic weakness and resilience

Andrew J. Nathan notes that "regime theory holds that authoritarian systems are inherently fragile because of weak legitimacy, overreliance on coercion, over-centralization of decision making, and the predominance of personal power over institutional norms. ..Few authoritarian regimes—be they communist, fascist, corporatist, or personalist—have managed to conduct orderly, peaceful, timely, and stable successions".Andrew J. Nathan
"Authoritarian Resilience"
, ''Journal of Democracy'', 14.1 (2003), pp. 6–17.
Political scientist Theodore M. Vestal writes that authoritarian political systems may be weakened through inadequate responsiveness to either popular or elite demands and that the authoritarian tendency to respond to challenges by exerting tighter control, instead of by adapting, may compromise the legitimacy of an authoritarian state and lead to its collapse. One exception to this general trend is the endurance of the authoritarian rule of the
Chinese Communist Party ) , anthem = "The Internationale" , seats1_title = National People's Congress (13th National People's Congress, 13th) , seats1 = , seats2_title = Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, NPC Standing ...
which has been unusually resilient among authoritarian regimes. Nathan posits that this can be attributed to four factors such as (1) "the increasingly norm-bound nature of its succession politics"; (2) "the increase in meritocratic as opposed to factional considerations in the promotion of political elites"; (3) "the differentiation and functional specialization of institutions within the regime"; and (4) "the establishment of institutions for political participation and appeal that strengthen the CCP's legitimacy among the public at large".


Violence

Yale University political scientist Milan Svolik argues that violence is a common characteristic of authoritarian systems. Violence tends to be common in authoritarian states because of a lack of independent third parties empowered to settle disputes between the dictator, regime allies, regime soldiers and the masses. Authoritarians may resort to measures referred to as " coup-proofing", i.e. structures that make it hard for any small group to seize power. These coup-proofing strategies may include the strategic placing of family, ethnic, and religious groups in the military; creation of an armed force parallel to the regular military; and development of multiple internal security agencies with overlapping jurisdiction that constantly monitor one another. Research shows that some coup-proofing strategies reduce the risk of coups occurring. However, coup-proofing reduces military effectiveness, and limits the rents that an incumbent can extract. A 2016 study shows that the implementation of succession rules reduce the occurrence of coup attempts. Succession rules are believed to hamper coordination efforts among coup plotters by assuaging elites who have more to gain by patience than by plotting. According to political scientists Curtis Bell and Jonathan Powell, coup attempts in neighbouring countries lead to greater coup-proofing and coup-related repression in a region. A 2017 study finds that countries' coup-proofing strategies are heavily influenced by other countries with similar histories. A 2018 study in the ''
Journal of Peace Research The ''Journal of Peace Research'' is a peer-reviewed Peer review is the evaluation of work by one or more people with similar competencies as the producers of the work ( peers). It functions as a form of self-regulation by qualified members of ...
'' found that leaders who survive coup attempts and respond by purging known and potential rivals are likely to have longer tenures as leaders. A 2019 study in ''Conflict Management and Peace Science'' found that
personalist Personalism is an intellectual stance that emphasizes the importance of human person A person (plural people or persons) is a being that has certain capacities or attributes such as reason, morality, consciousness or self-consciousness, and bein ...
dictatorships are more likely to take coup-proofing measures than other authoritarian regimes; the authors argue that this is because "personalists are characterized by weak institutions and narrow support bases, a lack of unifying ideologies and informal links to the ruler". According to a 2019 study, personalist dictatorships are more repressive than other forms of dictatorship.


Typologies

Several subtypes of authoritarian regimes have been identified by Linz and others.Mark J. Gasiorowski, The Political Regimes Project in ''On Measuring Democracy: Its Consequences and Concomitants'' (ed. Alex Inketes), 2006, pp. 110–11. Linz identified the two most basic subtypes as traditional authoritarian regimes and bureaucratic-military authoritarian regimes: * Traditional authoritarian regimes are those "in which the ruling authority (generally a single person)" is maintained in power "through a combination of appeals to traditional legitimacy, patron-client ties and repression, which is carried out by an apparatus bound to the ruling authority through personal loyalties". An example is
Ethiopia Ethiopia, officially the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, is a in the . It shares borders with and to the north, to the northeast, to the east, to the south, to the west and to the . Ethiopia has a total area of and over ...

Ethiopia
under Haile Selassie I. * Bureaucratic-military authoritarian regimes are those "governed by a coalition of military officers and technocrats who act pragmatically (rather than ideologically) within the limits of their bureaucratic mentality". Mark J. Gasiorowski suggests that it is best to distinguish "simple military authoritarian regimes" from "bureaucratic authoritarian regimes" in which "a powerful group of technocrats uses the state apparatus to try to rationalize and develop the economy" such as
Singapore Singapore (), officially the Republic of Singapore, is a island in . It lies about one degree of latitude () north of the , off the southern tip of the , bordering the to the west, the () to the south, and the to the east. The country' ...

Singapore
and
South Korea South Korea, officially the Republic of Korea (ROK), is a country A country is a distinct territory, territorial body or political entity. It is often referred to as the land of an individual's birth, residence or citizenship. A cou ...

South Korea
under
Lee Kuan Yew Lee Kuan Yew (16 September 1923 – 23 March 2015), born Harry Lee Kuan Yew, often referred to by his initials LKY and sometimes known in his earlier years as Harry Lee, was a Singaporean statesman and lawyer who served as Prime Minister of S ...

Lee Kuan Yew
and
Park Chung-hee Park Chung-hee (; 14 November 1917 – 26 October 1979) was a South Korea South Korea (Korean language, Korean: /, Revised Romanization of Korean, RR: ''Hanguk''; literally /, Revised Romanization of Korean, RR: ''Namhan'', or /, Mc ...

Park Chung-hee
respectively. Subtypes of authoritarian regime identified by Linz are
corporatist Corporatism is a political ideology which advocates the organization of society by Corporate group (sociology), corporate groups, such as agricultural, labour, military, scientific, or guild associations, on the basis of their common interests. ...
or organic-statistic, racial and ethnic "democracy" and post-totalitarian. * Corporatist authoritarian regimes "are those in which corporatism institutions are used extensively by the state to coopt and demobilize powerful interest groups". This type has been studied most extensively in
Latin America * ht, Amerik Latin, link=no * pt, América Latina, link=no , image = Latin America (orthographic projection).svg , area = , population = ( est.) , density = , ethnic_groups = , ethnic_groups_year = 2018 , ethnic_ ...

Latin America
. * Racial and ethnic "democracies" are those in which "certain racial or ethnic groups enjoy full democratic rights while others are largely or entirely denied those rights", such as in
South Africa under apartheid Apartheid (South African English: ; , segregation; lit. "aparthood") was a system of institutionalised racial segregation that existed in South Africa and South West Africa (now Namibia) from 1948 until the early 1990s. Apartheid wa ...
. * Post-totalitarian authoritarian regimes are those in which totalitarian institutions (such as the party,
secret police Secret police (or political police) are intelligence Intelligence has been defined in many ways: the capacity for abstraction Abstraction in its main sense is a conceptual process where general rules and concept Concepts are defined as abstr ...
and state-controlled mass media) remain, but where "ideological orthodoxy has declined in favor of routinization, repression has declined, the state's top leadership is less personalized and more secure, and the level of mass mobilization has declined substantially". Examples include the
Russian Federation Russia ( rus, link=no, Россия, Rossiya, ), or the Russian Federation, is a country spanning Eastern Europe and Northern Asia. It is the List of countries and dependencies by area, largest country in the world, covering over , and encom ...

Russian Federation
and
Soviet The Soviet Union,. officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. (USSR),. was a socialist state A socialist state, socialist republic, or socialist country, sometimes referred to as a workers' state or workers' republic, is a sovere ...
Eastern Bloc The Eastern Bloc, also known as the Communist Bloc, the Socialist Bloc and the Soviet Bloc, was the group of socialist states of Central and Eastern Europe, East Asia, and Southeast Asia under the influence of the Soviet Union and its ideology ( ...
states in the mid-1980s. The post-
Mao Zedong Mao Zedong pronounced ; also romanised Romanization or romanisation, in linguistics Linguistics is the science, scientific study of language. It encompasses the analysis of every aspect of language, as well as the methods for stu ...

Mao Zedong
People's Republic of China China (), officially the People's Republic of China (PRC; ), is a country in East Asia. It is the world's List of countries and dependencies by population, most populous country, with a Population of China, population of more than 1.4 billio ...

People's Republic of China
was viewed as post-totalitarian in the 1990s and early 2000s, with a limited degree of increase in pluralism and civil society. however, in the 2010s, particularly after
Xi Jinping Xi Jinping ( ; , ; born 15 June 1953) is a Chinese politician who has been serving as of the (CCP) and of the (CMC) since 2012, and of the (PRC) since 2013. Xi has been the of China, the most prominent political leader in China, since ...

Xi Jinping
succeeded as
General Secretary of the Communist Party of China The General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China () is typically the paramount leader of China China, officially the People's Republic of China (PRC), is a country in East Asia. It is the List of countr ...
and rose to power in 2012, Chinese state repression sharply increased, aided by
digital control Digital control is a branch of control theory Control theory deals with the control of dynamical system In mathematics, a dynamical system is a system in which a Function (mathematics), function describes the time dependence of a Point (geome ...
and
mass surveillance Mass surveillance is the intricate surveillance Surveillance is the monitoring of behavior, activities, or information for the purpose of information gathering, influencing, managing or directing. This can include observation from a distan ...
. Authoritarian regimes are also sometimes subcategorized by whether they are personalistic or
populist Populism refers to a range of political stances that emphasise the idea of "the people" and often juxtapose this group against "the elite". The term developed in the 19th century and has been applied to various politicians, parties, and moveme ...

populist
. Personalistic authoritarian regimes are characterized by arbitrary rule and
authority In the fields of sociology Sociology is the study of society, human social behaviour, patterns of social relationships, social interaction, and culture that surrounds everyday life. It is a social science that uses various methods of Empiric ...

authority
exercised "mainly through patronage networks and coercion rather than through institutions and formal rules". Personalistic authoritarian regimes have been seen in post-colonial Africa. By contrast, populist authoritarian regimes "are mobilizational regimes in which a strong, charismatic, manipulative leader rules through a coalition involving key lower-class groups". Examples include
Argentina Argentina (), officially the Argentine Republic ( es, link=no, República Argentina), is a country located mostly in the southern half of . Sharing the bulk of the with to the west, the country is also bordered by and to the north, to the ...

Argentina
under Jua Perón,
Egypt Egypt ( ar, مِصر, Miṣr), officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, is a spanning the and the of . It is bordered by the to , the () and to , the to the east, to , and to . In the northeast, the , which is the northern arm of the R ...

Egypt
under
Gamal Abdel Nasser Gamal Abdel Nasser Hussein, ( ɡəˈmɑːl æbdɛl ˈnɑːsər; Arabic Arabic (, ' or , ' or ) is a Semitic language The Semitic languages are a branch of the Afroasiatic language family originating in the Middle East Th ...

Gamal Abdel Nasser
and
Venezuela Venezuela (; ), officially the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela ( es, link=no, República Bolivariana de Venezuela), is a country on the northern coast of South America, consisting of a continental landmass and many islands and islets in the ...

Venezuela
under
Hugo Chávez Hugo Rafael Chávez Frías (, ; 28 July 1954 – 5 March 2013) was a Venezuelan politician who was president of Venezuela from 1999 until his death in 2013, except for a brief period in April 2002. Chávez was also leader of the Fifth ...

Hugo Chávez
and
Nicolás Maduro Nicolás Maduro Moros (, ; born 23 November 1962) is a Venezuelan politician and president of Venezuela The president of Venezuela ( es, Presidente de Venezuela), officially known as the President of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela ( e ...

Nicolás Maduro
. A typology of authoritarian regimes by political scientists Brian Lai and Dan Slater includes four categories: machine (oligarchic party dictatorships); bossism (autocratic party dictatorships); juntas (oligarchic military dictatorships); and strongman (autocratic military dictatorships). Lai and Slater argue that single‐party regimes are better than military regimes at developing institutions (e.g.
mass mobilizationMass mobilization (also known as social mobilization or popular mobilization) refers to mobilization of civilianIn general use, a civilian is "a person who is not a member of the police, the military, armed forces, or a fire department." This use di ...
, patronage networks ad coordination of elites) that are effective at continuing the regime's incumbency and diminishing domestic challengers; Lai and Slater also argue that military regimes more often initiate military conflicts or undertake other "desperate measures" to maintain control as compared to single‐party regimes. John Duckitt suggests a link between authoritarianism and
collectivism Collectivism is a value that is characterized by emphasis on cohesiveness Group cohesiveness (also called group cohesion and social cohesion) arises when bonds link members of a social group to one another and to the group as a whole. Although c ...
, asserting that both stand in opposition to
individualism Individualism is the Ethics, moral stance, political philosophy, ideology and social outlook that emphasizes the intrinsic worth of the individual. Individualists promote the exercise of one's goals and desires and to value independence and self- ...
. Duckitt writes that both authoritarianism and collectivism submerge
individual rights Group rights, also known as collective rights, are rights held by a group ''wikt:qua, qua'' a group rather than by its members severally; in contrast, individual rights are rights held by Individuality, individual people; even if they are group-di ...
and goals to group goals, expectations and .


Authoritarianism and democracy

Authoritarianism and democracy are not necessarily fundamental opposites as it is possible for some democracies to possess authoritarian elements, and for an authoritarian system to have democratic elements. An
illiberal democracy An illiberal democracy is a governing system in which, although election An election is a formal group decision-making process by which a population chooses an individual or multiple individuals to hold Public administration, public offic ...
, or
procedural democracy Procedural democracy is a term used to denote the particular procedures, such as regular election An election is a formal group decision-making process by which a population chooses an individual or multiple individuals to hold Public administ ...
, is distinguished from
liberal democracy Liberal democracy, also referred to as Western democracy, is the combination of a liberal Liberal or liberalism may refer to: Politics *a supporter of liberalism, a political and moral philosophy **Liberalism by country *an adherent of a L ...
, or substantive democracy, in that illiberal democracies lack features such as the
rule of law The rule of law is defined in the ''Oxford English Dictionary The ''Oxford English Dictionary'' (''OED'') is the principal historical dictionary of the English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language ...

rule of law
, protections for
minority group A minority group, by its original definition, refers to a group of people whose practices, race, religion, ethnicity, or other characteristics are fewer in numbers than the main groups of those classifications. However, in present-day sociology, ...
s, an
independent judiciaryJudicial independence is the concept that the judiciary The judiciary (also known as the judicial system, judicature, judicial branch, judiciative branch, and court or judiciary system) is the system of court A court is any person or instituti ...
and the real
separation of powers Separation of powers refers to the division of a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' ( ...
. A further distinction that liberal democracies have rarely made war with one another; research has extended the theory and finds that more democratic countries tend to have few wars (sometimes called militarized interstate disputes) causing fewer battle deaths with one another and that democracies have far fewer
civil war A civil war, also known as an intrastate war in polemology, is a war between organized groups within the same Sovereign state, state (or country). The aim of one side may be to take control of the country or a region, to achieve independenc ...
s. Research shows that the democratic nations have much less
democide Democide is a concept proposed by U.S. political scientist Rudolph Rummel to describe "the intentional killing of an unarmed or disarmed person by government agents acting in their authoritative capacity and pursuant to government policy or high ...
or murder by government. Those were also moderately developed nations before applying liberal democratic policies. Research by the
World Bank The World Bank is an international financial institution An international financial institution (IFI) is a financial institution that has been established (or chartered) by more than one country, and hence is subject to international law. Its o ...
suggests that political institutions are extremely important in determining the prevalence of
corruption Corruption is a form of dishonesty Dishonesty is to act without honesty. It is used to describe a lack of probity, cheating, lying, or deliberately withholding information, or being deliberately deceptive or a lack in integrity, knavishness, ...
and that parliamentary systems, political stability and
freedom of the press Freedom, generally, is having the ability to act or change without constraint. Something is "free" if it can change easily and is not constrained in its present state. In philosophy and religion, it is associated with having free will and being w ...
are all associated with lower corruption. A 2006 study by economist
Alberto Abadie Alberto Abadie (born April 3, 1968) is professor of in the department of economics at MIT and Associate Director of the Institute for Data, Systems, and Society (IDSS) also at MIT. He was born in the Basque Country, Spain. He received his PhD i ...
has concluded that terrorism is most common in nations with intermediate
political freedom Political freedom (also known as political autonomy or political agency) is a central concept Concepts are defined as abstract ideas or general notions that occur in the mind, in speech, or in thought. They are understood to be the fundamental ...
. The nations with the least amount of
terrorism Terrorism, in its broadest sense, is the use of intentional violence to achieve political aims. The term is used in this regard primarily to refer to violence during peacetime Peace is a concept of societal friendship and harmony in the ...
are the most and least democratic nations, and that "transitions from an authoritarian regime to a democracy may be accompanied by temporary increases in terrorism". Studies in 2013 and 2017 similarly found a nonlinear relationship between political freedom and terrorism, with the most terrorist attacks occurring in partial democracies and the fewest in "strict autocracies and full-fledged democracies". A 2018 study by Amichai Magen demonstrated that liberal democracies and polyarchies not only suffer fewer terrorist attacks as compared to other regime types, but also suffer fewer casualties in terrorist attacks as compared to other regime types, which may be attributed to higher-quality democracies' responsiveness to their citizens' demands, including "the desire for physical safety", resulting in "investment in intelligence, infrastructure protection, first responders, social resilience, and specialized medical care" which averts casualties. Magen also noted that terrorism in closed autocracies sharply increased starting in 2013.


Competitive authoritarian regimes

Another type of authoritarian regime is the competitive authoritarian regime, a type of civilian regime that arose in the post-Cold War era. In a competitive authoritarian regime, "formal democratic institutions exist and are widely viewed as the primary means of gaining power, but ... incumbents' abuse of the state places them at a significant advantage vis-à-vis their opponents". The term was coined by Steven Levitsky and Lucan A. Way in their 2010 book of the same name to discuss a type of hybrid regime that emerged during and after the Cold War. Competitive authoritarian regimes differ from fully authoritarian regimes in that elections are regularly held, the opposition can openly operate without a high risk of exile or imprisonment and "democratic procedures are sufficiently meaningful for opposition groups to take them seriously as arenas through which to contest for power". However, competitive authoritarian regimes lack one or more of the three characteristics of democracies such as free elections (i.e. elections untainted by substantial fraud or voter intimidation); protection of civil liberties (i.e. the freedom of speech, press and association) and an even playing field (in terms of access to resources, the media and legal recourse).


Authoritarianism and fascism

Authoritarianism is considered a core concept of fascism and scholars agree that a fascist regime is foremost an authoritarian form of government, although not all authoritarian regimes are fascist. While authoritarianism is a defining characteristic of fascism, scholars argue that more distinguishing traits are needed to make an authoritarian regime fascist.


Authoritarianism and totalitarianism

Linz distinguished new forms of authoritarianism from personalistic dictatorships and totalitarian states, taking Francoist Spain as an example. Unlike personalistic dictatorships, new forms of authoritarianism have institutionalized representation of a variety of actors (in Spain's case, including the military, the Catholic Church, Falange Española y de las JONS, Falange, Monarchism, monarchists, technocrats and others). Unlike totalitarian states, the regime relies on passive mass acceptance rather than popular support. Totalitarianism is an extreme version of authoritarianism. Authoritarianism primarily differs from totalitarianism in that social and economic institutions exist that are not under governmental control. Building on the work of Yale political scientist Juan Linz, Paul C. Sondrol of the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs has examined the characteristics of authoritarian and totalitarian dictators and organized them in a chart: Sondrol argues that while both authoritarianism and totalitarianism are forms of autocracy, they differ in "key Dichotomy, dichotomies": Compared to totalitarianism, "the authoritarian state still maintains a certain distinction between state and society. It is only concerned with political power and as long as that is not contested it gives society a certain degree of liberty. Totalitarianism, on the other hand, invades private sphere, private life and asphyxiates it".Radu Cinpoes, ''Nationalism and Identity in Romania: A History of Extreme Politics from the Birth of the State to EU Accession'', p. 70. Another distinction is that "authoritarianism is not animated by utopian ideals in the way totalitarianism is. It does not attempt to change the world and human nature". Carl Joachim Friedrich writes that "a totalist ideology, a party reinforced by a
secret police Secret police (or political police) are intelligence Intelligence has been defined in many ways: the capacity for abstraction Abstraction in its main sense is a conceptual process where general rules and concept Concepts are defined as abstr ...
, and monopoly control of ..industrial mass society" are the three features of totalitarian regimes that distinguish them from other autocracies.


Effect on development

Some commentators such as Seymour Martin Lipset argue that low-income authoritarian regimes have certain technocratic "efficiency-enhancing advantages" over low-income democracies that gives authoritarian regimes an advantage in economic development.Morton H. Halperin, Joseph T. Siegle, & Michael M. Weinstein,
The Democracy Advantage: How Democracies Promote Prosperity and Peace
'' (Council on Foreign Relations/Psychology Press, 2005).
By contrast, Morton H. Halperin, Joseph T. Siegle and Michael M. Weinstein (2005) argue that democracies "realize superior development performance" over authoritarianism, pointing out that poor democracies are more likely to have steadier economic growth and less likely to experience economic and humanitarian catastrophes (such as refugee crises) than authoritarian regimes; that civil liberties in democracies act as a curb on corruption and misuse of resources; and that democracies are more adaptable than authoritarian regimes. Studies suggest that several health indicators (life expectancy and infant and maternal mortality) have a stronger and more significant association with democracy than they have with Gross domestic product, GDP per capita, size of the public sector or income inequality. Prominent economist Amartya Sen has theorized that no functioning liberal democracy has ever suffered a large-scale famine.


Historical trends


Post-World War II anti-authoritarianism

Both World War II (ending in 1945) and the Cold War (ending in 1991) resulted in the replacement of authoritarian regimes by either democratic regimes or regimes that were less authoritarian. World War II saw the defeat of the Axis powers by the Allies of World War II, Allied powers. All the Axis powers (Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy (1922–1943), Fascist Italy and Empire of Japan, Imperial Japan) had totalitarian or authoritarian governments, and two of the three were replaced by governments based on democratic constitutions. The Allies of World War II, Allied powers were an alliance of Democratic states and (later) the Communist Soviet Union. At least in Western Europe the initial post-war era embraced pluralism and freedom of expression in areas that had been under control of authoritarian regimes. The memory of fascism and Nazism was denigrated. The new Federal Republic of Germany banned its expression. In reaction to the centralism of the Nazi state, the new constitution of West Germany (Federal Republic of Germany) exercised "
separation of powers Separation of powers refers to the division of a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' ( ...
" and placed "Law enforcement in Germany, law enforcement firmly in the hands" of the sixteen ''States of Germany, Länder'' or states of the republic, not with the federal German government, at least not at first. Culturally there was also a strong sense of anti-authoritarianism based on anti-fascism in Western Europe. This was attributed to the active resistance from German-occupied Europe, occupation and to fears arising from the development of superpowers. Anti-authoritarianism also became associated with countercultural and Bohemianism, bohemian movements such as the Beat Generation in the 1950s, the hippies in the 1960s"The way of the hippie is antithetical to all repressive hierarchical power structures since they are adverse to the hippie goals of peace, love and freedom ... Hippies don't impose their beliefs on others. Instead, hippies seek to change the world through reason and by living what they believe." and Punk subculture, punks in the 1970s. In South America, Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Paraguay, Chile and Uruguay moved away from dictatorships to democracies between 1982 and 1990. With the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and the Dissolution of the Soviet Union, Soviet Union in 1991 Soviet coup d'état attempt, 1991, the other authoritarian/totalitarian "half" of the Allied Powers of World War II collapsed. This led not so much to revolt against authority in general, but to the belief that authoritarian states (and state control of economies) were outdated. The idea that "liberal democracy was the final form toward which all political striving was directed" became very popular in Western countries and was celebrated in Francis Fukuyama's book ''The End of History and the Last Man''. According to Charles H. Fairbanks Jr., "all the new states that stumbled out of the ruins of the Soviet bloc, except Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan, seemed indeed to be moving toward democracy in the early 1990s" as where the countries of East Central Europe and the Balkans. In late 2010, the Arab Spring arose in response to unrest over economic stagnation but also in opposition to oppressive authoritarian regimes, first in Tunisia and spreading to Libya,
Egypt Egypt ( ar, مِصر, Miṣr), officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, is a spanning the and the of . It is bordered by the to , the () and to , the to the east, to , and to . In the northeast, the , which is the northern arm of the R ...

Egypt
, Yemen, Syria, Bahrain and elsewhere. Regimes were toppled in Tunisia, Libya,
Egypt Egypt ( ar, مِصر, Miṣr), officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, is a spanning the and the of . It is bordered by the to , the () and to , the to the east, to , and to . In the northeast, the , which is the northern arm of the R ...

Egypt
and partially in Yemen while other countries saw riots, civil wars or insurgencies.


2000s authoritarian revival

Since 2005, observers noted what some have called a "democratic recession", although some such as Steven Levitsky and Lucan Way have disputed that there was a significant democratic decline before 2013. In 2018, the Freedom House declared that from 2006 to 2018 "113 countries" around the world showed "a net decline" in "political rights and civil liberties" while "only 62" experienced "a net improvement". Its 2020 report marked the fourteenth consecutive year of declining scores. By 2020, all countries marked as "not free" by Freedom House had also developed practices of transnational authoritarianism, aiming to police and control dissent beyond state borders. Writing in 2018, American political journalist David Frum stated:
The hopeful world of the very late 20th century—the world of NAFTA and an expanding NATO; of the World Wide Web 1.0 and liberal interventionism; of the global spread of democracy under leaders such as Václav Havel and Nelson Mandela—now looks battered and delusive.
Michael Ignatieff wrote that Fukuyama's idea of liberalism vanquishing authoritarianism "now looks like a quaint artifact of a vanished unipolar moment" and Fukuyama himself expressed concern. By 2018, only one Arab Spring uprising (that in Tunisia) resulted in a transition to constitutional democratic governance and a "resurgence of authoritarianism and Islamic extremism" in the region was dubbed the Arab Winter. Various explanations have been offered for the new spread of authoritarianism. They include the downside of globalization, and the subsequent rise of populism, populist neo-nationalism, and the success of the Beijing Consensus, i.e. the authoritarian model of the People's Republic of China. In countries such as the United States, factors blamed for the growth of authoritarianism include the financial crisis of 2007–2008 and slower real wage growth as well as social media's elimination of so-called "gatekeepers" of knowledge – the equivalent of disintermediation in economics – so that a large fraction of the population considers to be opinion what were once "viewed as verifiable facts" – including everything from the danger of global warming to the preventing the spread of disease through vaccination – and considers to be fact what are actually only unproven fringe opinions.


Examples

There is no one consensus definition of authoritarianism, but several annual measurements are attempted, including Freedom House's annual ''Freedom in the World'' report. Some countries such as Venezuela, among others, that are currently or historically recognized as authoritarian did not become authoritarian upon taking power or fluctuated between an authoritarian, Flawed democracy, flawed or illiberal-democratic regime. The time period reflects their time in power rather than the years they were authoritarian regimes. Some countries such as China and fascist regimes have also been characterized as totalitarian, with some periods being depicted as more authoritarian, or totalitarian, than others.


Current

The following is a non-exhaustive list of examples of states which are currently or frequently characterized as authoritarian.


Historical

The following is a non-exhaustive list of examples of states which were historically authoritarian.


See also

*Authoritarian capitalism *Authoritarian socialism *Anti-democratic thought *Left-wing dictatorship *Right-wing dictatorship *Absolute monarchy *Military dictatorship *One-party state *Autocracy *Centralisation *Criticism of liberal democracy *Managed democracy


References

Notes Bibliography * Linz, Juan J. (1964). "An Authoritarian Regime: The Case of Spain". In Allard, Eric; Littunen, Yrjo. ''Cleavages, Ideologies and Party Systems''. Helsinki: Academic Bookstore. Further reading * Frantz; Erica; Geddes, Barbara; Wrights, Joseph (2018). ''How Dictatorships Work''. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. .


External links

* {{authority control Authoritarianism, Authority Political culture Political theories Social theories