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Authoritarianism is a form of social control characterized by strict obedience to the authority of a state, organization, or individual; the central authority figure often maintains and enforces control through the use of oppressive measures.[1]

Common examples of authoritarianism include:

  1. Authoritarian family structure: children submissive to their parents, with the wife submissive to her husband (or sometimes the husband submissive to his wife)
    • Note that the former arrangement (wife submissive to husband) is commonly what is meant when a family structure is described as "traditional". This is family structure most often
  2. Authoritarian state (or form of government): the people submissive to their leaders, with lower-level officials submissive to a strong central committee or individual.

A related concept is the so-called authoritarian personality (or character), a set of characteristics purported to predict antidemocratic or fascist leanings.

There are two types of authoritarian followers, right-wing and left-wing:

  • Right-wing followers advocate submission to traditional authorities, such as churches or other religious institutions, and the government.
  • Left-wing followers are submissive to a radical leaders who seek to overthrow the status quo.
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