Juan José Linz

Johan Skytte Prize in Political Science Aurelio Menéndez Martha Nussbaum
Infinite Construction - STEAM

Juan José Linz Storch de Gracia (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. His mother, of Spanish origin, returned with him to Spain in 1932. He graduated with a degree in law and political science from the Complutense University of Madrid and took his doctorate in sociology from Columbia University in the United States. In 1961, he obtained a professorship there. After a brief stay in Spain to help create courses for the new Autonomous University of Madrid, he returned to the United States and became a professor at Yale in 1968.

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'.

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), in addition to honorary doctorates from several European universities.

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


From page 434 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' ...

See also