Seymour Martin Lipset first proposed his theory of working-class authoritarianism in his 1959 paper “Democracy and Working-Class Authoritarianism.” His thesis held that individuals of lower social and educational classes were more prone to sympathize with authoritarian and illiberal regimes, be they to the political left or right. This paper will discuss and then explore Lipset’s theory in a modern context. In doing so, it will argue that working-class authoritarianism still exists in liberal democracies today. To do so, case studies of several states and their elections will be analyzed and compared. These examples will show that while the phenomenon can still be seen today, the manner in which it appears has changed following the fall of communism. This paper will conclude its discussion of Lipset’s theory by arguing that the authoritarian tendencies of the classes Lipset indicated now lean exclusively to the political right. Furthermore, the economic implications of this theory in a modern context will be illuminated. Finally, the argument will be made that working-class authoritarianism has the effect of preventing individuals affected by it from voting for the liberal political policies that could aid them in their economic struggle.
"The Economic Implications of Working-Class Authoritarianism: A Comparative Perspective,"
Proceedings of GREAT Day: Vol. 2012
, Article 19.
Available at: https://knightscholar.geneseo.edu/proceedings-of-great-day/vol2012/iss1/19