From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
- This article applies to political and organizational ideologies. For information on the psychology of individuals who seek to dominate those within their sphere of influence, see Authoritarian personality.
Authoritarianism describes a form of social control characterized by strict obedience to the authority of a state or organization, often maintaining and enforcing control through the use of oppressive measures. Authoritarian regimes are strongly hierarchical.
In an authoritarian form of government, citizens are subject to state authority in many aspects of their lives, including many matters that other political philosophies would see as erosion of civil liberties and freedom. There are various degrees of authoritarianism; even very democratic and liberal states will show authoritarianism to some extent, for example in areas of national security. Usually, an authoritarian government is undemocratic and has the power to govern without consent of those being governed.