In communist political theory: the belief or doctrine that each separate communist party has the right to full national autonomy and that the Soviet model need not be binding for all communist parties. Also (more generally): a situation involving several important elements or powerful parties; a system or theory having or proposing many centres or focal points.
The doctrine of polycentrism was first promulgated by the Italian statesman P. Togliatti (1893–1964) in 1956.
1950s; earliest use found in Pacific Affairs. From poly- + -centrism, after polycentric.