Pub. date: 2011 | Online Pub. Date: October 04, 2011 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412994163 | Print ISBN: 9781412959636 | Online ISBN: 9781412994163| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Until the early 1960s, there was a fundamental dichotomy in political science between democratic and totalitarian regimes. Authoritarian regimes were often treated as a type of totalitarian regime. However, with the collapse (Germany) and the subsequent transformation (in the former USSR) of totalitarian regimes after World War II and in the 1950s, authoritarian regimes have become the dominant form of nondemocratic government. This entry provides a general definition of authoritarian regime as well as exploring subtypes. Among the many subtypes of authoritarian regimes, the currently most widespread one is the “electoral authoritarian” regime that combines a facade of multiparty elections with a variety of authoritarian controls that, in effect, deprive such elections of any democratic significance. Therefore, this entry, while briefly discussing other subtypes of authoritarian regimes, will particularly focus on electoral authoritarianism. Because such regimes are the dominant regime type in the Middle East and North Africa, a special ...