6.3.1  Authoritarianism                                              

(This is a current extract from the Patterns of Power Repository.  An archived copy of this page is held at http://www.patternsofpower.org/edition02/631.htm)

An authoritarian system, for the purposes of this book, is categorised as one which deprives people of participation in the choice of a political leader.  There are several such scenarios, as described in the following sub-sections:

·      Some are partially authoritarian, with vestigial democracy (

·      Politicians are appointed by the party in a one-party State (

·      A dictatorship is a government whose leader has acquired power by force (, without any intention of ceding power.

·      An absolute monarchy is a system where a hereditary monarch directly controls the government (

These very broad categories of authoritarian government have different types of legitimacy, as described below.  People might accept the institution of an authoritarian government, to bring law and order (, although that government might not be able to effect a peaceful handover of power to its successors – and its ability to maintain control sometimes involves suppressing individual freedom (  But, even though it doesn’t need votes as such, it has an incentive to keep the population satisfied (

© PatternsofPower.org, 2014