Sociology Index


Authoritarianism is a form of government characterized by the authority of the state in a republic or union. Authoritarian political systems depend on demands of the people and it is a challenge to authoritarianism to accommodate growing demands on the part of the populace or even groups within the system. Authoritarianism is marked by indefinite political tenure. Authoritarianism is characterised by absolute or blind obedience to authority, as against individual freedom and related to the expectation of unquestioning obedience. Authoritarianism may be a political system controlled by nonelected rulers. The power of authoritarianism is on display in China's response to 2019-nCoV. The Huanan seafood market suspected as the outbreak source was closed and decontaminated within a day of the announcement.

Totalitarianism is considered to be an extreme version of authoritarianism. Fascism is not the same as Dictatorship. Military Dictatorship is similar to a Stratocracy, a state ruled directly by the military. Multilevel models of authoritarianism in countries around the world over three decades support relative power theory.

Paul C. Sondrol of the Univ of Colorado argues that both authoritarians and totalitarianism are forms of autocracy. Unlike authoritarians, totalitarian dictators develop a charismatic 'mystique' and a mass-based, pseudo-democratic interdependence with their followers via the conscious manipulation of a prophetic image.

Linz distinguished new forms of authoritarianism from personalistic dictatorships and totalitarian states, taking Francoist Spain as an example. Linz identified the two most basic subtypes as traditional authoritarian regimes and bureaucratic-military authoritarian regimes. Linz also has identified three other subtypes of authoritarian regime: corporatist or organic-statistic, racial and ethnic "democracy" and post-totalitarian.

Authoritarianism is characterized by highly concentrated and centralized power maintained by political repression and the exclusion of potential challengers. It uses political parties and mass organizations to mobilize people around the goals of the regime.

Authoritarianism also tends to embrace the informal and unregulated exercise of political power, 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 and little tolerance for meaningful opposition. - Theodore M. Vesta.

The Social Origins of Authoritarianism - Frederick Solt.
Abstract: Despite much attention to the problematic consequences of authoritarianism, little research focuses on the causes of such unquestioning respect for “proper” authority. Elaborating on the social learning approach to authoritarianism, this article argues that economic inequality within countries shapes individuals’ feelings toward authority. As differences in condition increase, so does the relative power of the wealthy. As a result, regardless of their incomes, individuals’ experiences are more likely to lead them to view hierarchical relations as natural and, in turn, to hold greater respect for authority.

Authoritarianism, outbreaks, and information politics - Matthew M Kavanagh.
Within 3 days of confirmed human-to-human transmission the Chinese Government imposed an unprecedented cordon sanitaire. Movement of more than 50 million people across Hubei province was rapidly restricted, curtailing transportation inside cities and outbound transportation by air, train, and bus. Authorities halted Spring Festival celebrations in Beijing and restricted movement into other major cities. Two 1000-bed hospitals were built within days. These moves reflect a level of control only available to authoritarian governments.

Modernization and Authoritarianism - Roberto Stefan Foa.
Why have moves toward democratic governance petered out over the last decade, while authoritarian regimes have remained resilient? A distinction must be made between political liberalism’s “intrinsic” appeal and its “instrumental” appeal. In recent years, the latter has been eroded by the faltering economic performance of democracies and the comparative resurgence of authoritarian regimes. Such an “authoritarian resurgence” can be seen not only across macroeconomic indicators such as shares of global income or investment, but also by composite governance measures. A new model of capitalist authoritarianism is on the rise, with significant consequences for the global prospects of democracy in the twenty-first century.