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Types of autocracy

Research field:Extremism Research
Research focus:Comparative Autocracy Research
Period: 01.1999 - 12.2022
Coordination: Prof. Dr. Uwe Backes


Uwe Backes is working on a typology of autocratic (non-democratic) systems on the basis of a general sociology of domination. This typology will in turn form the basis of a systematic comparison of the power structures of autocratic systems past and present (such as theocracy, antique tyranny, absolutism, authoritarian dictatorship, patrimonialism, sultanism and totalitarianism). In this way, the totalitarian type of regime can be identified more precisely in terms of its specific characteristics and attributes shared with other types of autocratic systems. The goal is also a more nuanced historical classification of autocracies (or dictatorships) of the 20th century.

The conceptual basis of the study includes an article written for the 47/2012 special issue of the Politische Vierteljahresschrift: ‘Four Types of Autocracy and their Strategies of Legitimation’.