The authors of this study came from the fact that the basis of the authoritarian mentality of a particular stock character – “more or less stable organization of the individual forces that determine its reaction to various situations, and thus its a consistent behavior, whether verbal or physical form.” Following the founder of psychoanalysis, it is believed that the driving force of personality are her needs – the desire to avoid punishment, the desire to maintain a positive view of others about themselves, striving to maintain the harmony of his inner world.
Although the work was written half a century ago, and in subsequent years has been criticized primarily methodological, it continues to influence modern researchers. First of all noteworthy theoretical study of the concept of “authoritarian syndrome”, giving a tool for the detection and microanalysis macropolicy objects. This task is left to the political psychology is extremely relevant in our time.
After work, Adorno and his co-authoritarian personality concept was developed in the works of H. Eysenck, M. Rokeach, F. Tatlock, R. Christie, X. Gibenisha, B. Altemeyera, S. McFarland, V. Ageev and other political psychologists who confirmed that authoritarianism – is a particular syndrome or a bunch of qualities that arise for the individual in the course of their socialization, mainly primary.
These personality traits are manifested in the form of cognitive characteristics, in particular – in the form of dogmatism, stereotyped thinking, intolerance of dissent, rigidity, and a requirement of the emotional characteristics of personality: an authoritarian submission (subordinate to the needs of the state), authoritarian aggression directed against those who violate the accepted norms, and at the level of values in the form of conventionalism, or a high degree of commitment to the common domestic norms and values that are perceived as endorsed by the government and society.
Modern psychology researchers authoritarianism concluded not only that authoritarianism is reflected at all levels of manifestation of personality, but also the fact that it formed the basis of a special type of manipulative politics, called “makkiavellievskogo.” Studies have also shown that authoritarianism is a kind of lens through which a person perceives the power and politicians. In this case, the images of the power of such individuals are misaligned and contradictory, are paternalistic.
Thus, the study of authoritarianism and contribute to the understanding of psychological patterns of personality, and the understanding of the processes of transformation of political systems. Modern transitology based on the belief that one of the most significant trends of modern politics is the transition of a large group of countries from authoritarian to democratic regimes – research on the authoritarian personality shows that the conditions for such a transition is not only the creation and consolidation of new democratic institutions, but also the transformation of the psychology of large the mass of the population of these countries.
So, if we take the initial position that Russia and other Eastern European countries, as well as many others before them, are now in transition from authoritarianism to democracy, it is necessary to first determine where they go in this way. This initial situation raises many questions and needs in critical thinking. One of the most common stereotypes of the past decade, which equally had circulated in Russia (especially among Russian democrats), and abroad, is the idea that the Soviet Union and other socialist countries are a typical example of authoritarian or even totalitarian regimes.
If the period of Stalinism, this definition is quite justified, for the more recent periods, it is hardly appropriate. First, even in the years of the most brutal political repression and lack of freedom, these regimes are not monolithic and different from each other depending on whether the foundation of any political cultures of these regimes were implanted and rooted. From this point of view, one can not compare Germany with Kazakhstan, Albania and Belarus, as is often done in the political science literature institutionalist persuasion. Communist regimes varied widely and, depending on what factors had a decisive influence on them in every case.
First of all authoritarianism in these countries differed on the grounds on which stage of economic development of the country was at the time of the establishment of the political system of the Soviet type. In countries with more developed economies authoritarian regime was perceived by citizens other than where the economy was on the verge of collapse: in these countries, resistance to authoritarianism was more pronounced than in poor countries.
Another important factor in the form of authoritarianism is a national-ethnic structure of the population. In federations (USSR, Yugoslavia), there was an additional source of stress in society compared to mono-ethnic countries, which, in turn, caused the leaders of these countries tempted to “once and for all” to solve not only economic, political, but also the national question authoritarian ways.
The third factor influencing the formation of authoritarian regimes – is a factor of geographical or geopolitical. The size of the territory, its status as an empire or colony undoubtedly endowed authoritarian regimes in imperial or colonial characteristics. Here we should mention the historical destiny of the nation. For example, the fact that Russia throughout its history has been the object of conquest on the part of the aggressors, has formed a certain alertness and readiness of the nation to reflect the aggression used by Stalin’s regime, and plant xenophobia and secrecy, which were adopted by the public, since it relied on historical memory.
Finally, it should be noted the impact that has on authoritarian forms of cultural and psychological factors. National character, national psychology of each of the nations, is experiencing authoritarianism, these regimes gave very specific features. Thus, recklessness Russian, Ukrainian or German pedantry melancholy did authoritarian forms of government very different, as reflected in the behavior of rulers, and in the perception of these modes of ordinary citizens.
From the above it can be concluded that, first, a single form of authoritarianism was not in the countries that have adopted the communist ideology and build a more or less similar political systems, and secondly, from a psychological point of view, this authoritarianism was also very different, as were various and ways out of it, “Velvet Revolution” in Czechoslovakia hardly resembles very severe forms of the transition to democracy in Romania, and in the former Soviet Union, it is difficult to compare even psychologically close Russia and Belarus, not to mention the Baltics and Central Asia.
All this means is that the very concept of authoritarianism both political and in the political-psychological sense, much diversified, and use it quite difficult. Let us take as a working understanding of how authoritarian political system or regime in which power is concentrated in the hands of one person or in one of her body and reduced the role of others, especially of representative institutions, and ordinary citizens are deprived of full rights.
It is believed that authoritarianism as a political concept is characterized by three main features: the centralization of power; peremptory command method of leadership; unconditional obedience and suppression of freedom of will and subordinate individuals and society as a whole.
Many researchers authoritarianism as a political-psychological phenomenon based on the fact that such a regime affects the individual, who under the influence of an authoritarian environment develops a certain set of personality traits, called the “authoritarian personality.” This type of personality is inherent in a set of characteristics, among which we should highlight, first, the content side, ie political and ideological views: nationalism (ethnocentrism) – ie set against the aliens, political conformism – set against the group, conservatism – characteristics not only political, but also psychological, conventionalism, militarism and religiosity.
Second, the authoritarian personality is necessary to highlight the psychological form of expression: the intolerance of dissent, intolerance of uncertainty and confusion. To the authoritarian personality typical of special ways of thinking: the stiffness, stereotypical, secrecy, a tendency to evaluate everything in black and white.