Trends in authoritarianism : evidence from 31 European countries
Faculty of Social Sciences. Sociology
Faculty of Arts. Linguistics and Literature
International Journal of Social Sciences and Humanity Studies
, p. 395-404
University of Antwerp
To date, few studies have been conducted on trends in authoritarian attitudes, despite the importance of this research in our understanding of undemocratic movements in society. Studies that have surveyed trends in authoritarianism are already rather outdated, often based on student samples and conducted in only a limited number of countries. Furthermore, until now, no study had tested whether the meaning of authoritarianism is invariant across time. Using the European Values Study, we examined trends in authoritarianism in 31 European countries over the last decade (1999-2008), based on representative samples. It was found that in many Western European countries, with the exception of the Netherlands, authoritarianism declined significantly over the last decade. However, in some, mostly Eastern European countries, levels of authoritarianism actually increased significantly during the last decade. Changing levels of authoritarianism were linked to extreme-right and anti-democratic sentiment in European societies.