Dictionnaire de la Science Politique

Authors: Hermet, Badie, Birnbaum & Braud
Summary: In about 260 words, the authors stress the function of opposition. In modern political systems, it refers to the partial or total questioning of decision-makers' choices. This function is allowed by law and it is accomplished freely - being regulated and protected by a statute - by parties, the press, Trade Unions and pressure groups. However, the opposition can organize itself outside the system, either because it has no representation -in this case it is called "extra-parliamentary opposition" - or because it refuses any institutionalization (revolutionary or anti-system opposition).
In authoritarian regimes, opposition can be expressed latently as, e.g. through the Church, or secretly; it can also be a "puppet opposition", i.e. an opposition exerted by parties actually controlled by the regime; or it can be expressed with deviant behavior, passive resistance, symbolic expression or exit.