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Dictatorship

Power in a dictatorship    is held by a single person (or a very small group) that wields complete and absolute authority over a government and population. Like some absolute monarchies, dictatorships may be corrupt and seek to limit or even eradicate the liberties of the general population. Dictators use a variety of means to perpetuate their authority. Economic and military might, as well as intimidation and brutality are often foremost among their tactics; individuals are less likely to rebel when they are starving and fearful. Many dictators start out as military leaders and are conditioned to the use of violence against opposition.

Some dictators also possess the personal appeal that Max Weber identified with a charismatic leader. Subjects of such a dictator may believe that the leader has special ability or authority and may be willing to submit to his or her authority. The late Kim Jong-Il, North Korean dictator, and his successor, Kim Jong-Un, exemplify this type of charismatic dictatorship.

Some dictatorships do not align themselves with any particular belief system or ideology; the goal of this type of regime is usually limited to preserving the authority of the dictator. A totalitarian dictatorship    is even more oppressive and attempts to control all aspects of its subjects’ lives; including occupation, religious beliefs, and number of children permitted in each family. Citizens may be forced to publicly demonstrate their faith in the regime by participating in marches and demonstrations.

Some “benevolent” dictators, such as Napoleon and Anwar Sadat, are credited with advancing their people’s standard of living or exercising a moderate amount of evenhandedness. Others grossly abuse their power. Joseph Stalin, Adolf Hitler, Saddam Hussein, Cambodia’s Pol Pot, and Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe, for instance, are heads of state who earned a reputation for leading through fear and intimidation.

Kim Jong-Il of North Korea is shown wearing sunglasses amid a group of uniformed North Korean soldiers.
Dictator Kim Jong-Il of North Korea was a charismatic leader of an absolute dictatorship. His followers responded emotionally to the death of their leader in 2011. (Photo courtesy of babeltrave/flickr)

Democracy

A democracy    is a form of government that strives to provide all citizens with an equal voice, or vote, in determining state policy, regardless of their level of socioeconomic status. Another important fundamental of the democratic state is the establishment and governance of a just and comprehensive constitution that delineates the roles and responsibilities of leaders and citizens alike.

Democracies, in general, ensure certain basic rights for their citizens. First and foremost, citizens are free to organize political parties and hold elections. Leaders, once elected, must abide by the terms of the given nation’s constitution and are limited in the powers they can exercise, as well as in the length of the duration of their terms. Most democratic societies also champion freedom of individual speech, the press, and assembly, and they prohibit unlawful imprisonment. Of course, even in a democratic society, the government constrains citizens' total freedom to act however they wish. A democratically elected government does this by passing laws and writing regulations that, at least ideally, reflect the will of the majority of its people.

Although the United States champions the democratic ideology, it is not a “pure” democracy. In a purely democratic society, all citizens would vote on all proposed legislation, and this is not how laws are passed in the United States. There is a practical reason for this: a pure democracy would be hard to implement. Thus, the United States is a constitution-based federal republic in which citizens elect representatives to make policy decisions on their behalf. The term representative democracy    , which is virtually synonymous with republic , can also be used to describe a government in which citizens elect representatives to promote policies that favor their interests. In the United States, representatives are elected at local and state levels, and the votes of the Electoral College determine who will hold the office of president. Each of the three branches of the U.S. government—the executive, judicial, and legislative—is held in check by the other branches.

Summary

Nations are governed by different political systems, including monarchies, oligarchies, dictatorships, and democracies. Generally speaking, citizens of nations wherein power is concentrated in one leader or a small group are more likely to suffer violations of civil liberties and experience economic inequality. Many nations that are today organized around democratic ideals started out as monarchies or dictatorships but have evolved into more egalitarian systems. Democratic ideals, although hard to implement and achieve, promote basic human rights and justice for all citizens.

Short answer

Do you feel the United States has become an oligarchy? Why, or why not?

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Explain how an absolute monarchy differs from a dictatorship.

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In which form of government do average citizens have the least political power? What options might they have for exerting political power under this type of regime?

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Further research

The Tea Party is among the highest-profile grassroots organizations active in U.S. politics today. What is its official platform? Examine the Tea Party website to find out more information at (External Link) .

References

Balz, Dan. 2014. "For GOP, demographic opportunities, challenges await". The Washington Post . Retrieved December 11, 2014. ( (External Link) )

Dunbar, John (2012). “The Citizen’s United Decision and Why It Matters” The Center for Public Integrity. October 18, 2012. Retrieved October 2, 2014 ( (External Link) )

Krugman, Paul. 2011. “Oligarchy, American Style.” New York Times , November 3. Retrieved February 14, 2012 ( (External Link) ).

PBS Online. “Gilded Age.” 1999. The American Experience . Retrieved February 14, 2012 ( (External Link) ).

Schulz, Thomas. 2011. “The Second Gilded Age: Has America Become an Oligarchy?” Spiegel Online International , October 28. Retrieved February 14, 2012 ( (External Link) ).

Winters, Jeffrey. 2011. “Oligarchy and Democracy.” American Interest , November/December. Retrieved February 17, 2012 ( (External Link) ).

Questions & Answers

pls what's today's discussion all about?
Ojewande Reply
every one can start any relevant topic on sociology... bcz every question is imp about society
Ritu
what's is difference between premonition and foreknowledge
Ritu Reply
hello
suraj
g
Aimal
?
Ritu
difference between prescience and premonition is that prescience is knowledge of events before they take place; foresight; foreknowledge while premonition is a clairvoyant or clairaudient experience, such as a dream, which resonates with so
Aimal
hi
APARNA
in short foreknowledge is the knowledge of something before it's happened .and premonition a knowledgeof something is going to happen specially unpleasant
Ritu
..
Ritu
Who is the father of modern sociology
Shah Reply
who is the fat60f modern sociology
Shah Reply
Who is the father of sociology
Shah
august compte is called a father of sociology
Ritu
what can one become after studying sociology in Nigeria
Chisom Reply
What is the Socialization is culturally specific, but this does not mean certain cultures talking about?
Sammi Reply
yes
Kenneth
v
Kenneth
what is serfdom by Karl Marx
Ritu Reply
the condition of a tenant farmer bound to a hereditary plot of land and to the will of a landlord. it is Another form of slavery.
APARNA
thanks
Ritu
ghati and legory is markx
Abid
we often listen that he does root learning or he understand the concepts still I don't know what is difference between those ....which symptom shows ...
Ritu Reply
I asked from many literate people but don't gave a satisfied answer
Ritu
i asked from many literate people but they don't gave satisfied answer
Ritu
.....
Ritu
watch Jordan Peterson lectures on learning, it can clarify your misunderstanding
Sourabh
about what
Rafiq
yea! tell about what?
Badar
difference between understanding and root learning ..Because both seem the same from outside
Ritu
I would recommend watching Jordan Peterson lectures on learning (available on YouTube), It may help.
Sourabh
all right thanks
Ritu
learning and understanding are two sides of one coin.
Rafiq
all right
Abid
inequality and social fractionalization how differenciated?
Siam Reply
fractionalization is reality it's positive .without social fractionalization social system will be destroy ... it is compulsory and inequality is a negative approach .both are different
Ritu
if there is negation of negation of everything so what is negation. of primitive communism stage
Ritu Reply
?
Ritu
hermits,vagrants and alcoholics are examples of
tajown Reply
These are examples of social deviants because their ways of life violate social norms.
Mary
how to convert in hindi
bb Reply
society is a major cause of alienation .not individual ..why?
Ritu Reply
what is Upward mobility
Ritu
upward mobility is movement from lower status to higher status in hierarchy
SHIVAM
what is difference between Candidate Socialization and Adult Socialization
Ritu
what is the difference between general test and standardized test
NIRUPAM
one member can't do anything . so society is a major cause of alienation
NIRUPAM
but alienation is psychological state of individuals ....
Ritu
hegal says that Alienati is a social psychological condition that dissuades a person from his social existence.
Ritu
standardized test is scientific and general test is mere subjective or not scientific
Ritu
accha ..thank u ...Ritu
NIRUPAM
what are the effects of covid 19 on culture in our society
SAMUEL Reply
Here in America, where quarantine is being lifted slowly throughout the country, cases are beginning to rise again due to people laxing on wearing masks and continuing to practice social distancing. I believe this is causing anomie.
Mary
ghati
Abid
Truth, Abid 👍🏽
Mary
Love you
Abid
When it is a matter of culture, people are paying more attention to culture. Somewhere the positive effect of this quarantine is also happening.
Ritu
it a reality of a men before quarantine everybody was busy in their particular works like youth was busy in study family's was busy in earning money but naw I think people are realizing that there are more thing like a feeling of caring not just for own self but for a country in short nationalism .
Ritu
we r also going towards are culture we r giving more time towards culture .as I watch people are giving time on cultural food whether it is dance,dressup ,kahin na kahin this time making us psychologically and imotionally strong towards are feeling for nation 🙏. .
Ritu
this is best opportunity for making us still better then we was..we all should make the best use of such opportunity for improving our internal skill to better our self
Ritu
Describe an iron cage that leads to a false consciousness.
Mary Reply
Pakistan Govt is an iron cage that leads to false conscience
Abid
Please explain to me why you feel this way about the Pakistan Govt. I am from the Midwest in America.
Mary
for this you you may read the policies that makes by Pakistan govt for Pakistan
Ritu
@Ritu Verma : Improve English
Milan
This is the way to Improve English.. we have to appreciate the person who want to improve this international language.
Safed
I feel blind faith is an iron cage, that leads to false consciousness. For eg. There are certain rituals in relegion, which doesn't help anybody, also can harm people/animals but those who have blind faith in relegion, they have the consciousness of doing very meaningful.
Milan
@Safed, pointing out mistakes, inspires you to improve. that was my intention.
Milan
yes sir i respect your point I will never take it the other way i respect your point .. thank you ..The people who tell me my mistakes, they help me get success more quickly.
Ritu
always I welcome people who does ..you r ryt sir
Ritu
Is sociology different from common sense ? How ?
NIRUPAM
yaa is a different from practical intelligence ...bcz it's a pure science Sociologist does not do his knowledge in practical area.
Ritu
A sociologist, for example, does not determine social policies in the same way that a physicist does not build bridges.
Ritu
The job of a sociologist is to understand the facts as they are. Sociologist tells the relevant knowledge.
Ritu
It is the work of administrators, leaders and repressors to give practical shape
Ritu
It is right ? thinking of sociologist are different from other common people . How ?
NIRUPAM
what you mean by common people .... clear it
Ritu
may be u r ryt its bcz a sociologist observe fact with Interdisciplinary approach
Ritu
you may should read hirarichy of science by August compte
Ritu
The subject matter and subject area of ​​a sociologist is very broad and dynamic.
Ritu
A sociologist has to study the entire society which includes Economics, Geography, Physical, Political, Astronomy, Math, History, Anthropology and much more.
Ritu
So we can say that a sociologist's thinking is slightly different from the common people
Ritu
naw u free to agree or disagree
Ritu
yes
Siam
i am student of economics,but i am interest in sociology
Siam
you may go ahead ... with this it gives knowledge that will very good for upsc or pcs and ias
Ritu
economics has a great effect on society and is a key factor in social stratification. To understand sociology better one has to have a basic knowledge of economics.
Abu
personally sociology is a key of all success .I. m doing graduation in politics still i will give entrance in sociology
Ritu
Sociology is not a single subject, it is combination of different subjects.
Abu
hmmm ryt
Ritu

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Source:  OpenStax, Introduction to sociology 2e. OpenStax CNX. Jan 20, 2016 Download for free at http://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11762/1.6
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