Juan José Linz

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Juan José Linz (24 December 1926 – 1 October 2013) was a Spanish sociologist and political scientist. He was Sterling Professor Emeritus of Sociology and Political Science at Yale University and an honorary member of the Scientific Council at the Juan March Institute. He is best known for his theories on totalitarian and authoritarian systems of government.

Linz was born in Bonn, Germany. In addition to his work on systems of government, he did extensive research on the breakdowns of democracy and the transition back to a democratic regime. He is the author of many works on the subject, including Problems of Democratic Transition and Consolidation: Southern Europe, South America, and Post-Communist Europe (Johns Hopkins University Press, 1996, co-authored with Alfred Stepan), his crowning work Totalitarian and Authoritarian Regimes (Rienner, 2000) and his influential essay 'The Perils of Presidentialism'.


From a description of Totalitarian and Authoritarian Regimes:

In this classic work, noted political scientist Juan Linz provides an unparalleled study of the nature of nondemocratic regimes. Linz's seminal analysis develops the fundamental distinction between totalitarian and authoritarian systems. It also presents a path-breaking discussion on the personalistic, lawless, nonideological type of authoritarian rule that he calls (following Max Weber) the 'sultanistic regime'.

Later life[edit]

Linz received the Prince of Asturias Award of Social Sciences (1987), the Johan Skytte Prize in Political Science (1996) and the Karl Deutsch Award[1] (2003).

He died, aged 86, in New Haven, Connecticut.


  • Linz, Juan J. Totalitarian and Authoritarian Regimes, Rienner, 2000: 343.

See also[edit]