From Wikipedia re: Clifford Geertz’ Theater State:
In political anthropology, a theatre state is a political state directed towards the performance of drama and ritual rather than more conventional ends such as welfare. Power in a theatre state is exercised through spectacle. The term was coined by Clifford Geertz in 1980 in reference to political practice in the nineteenth-century Balinese Negara but its usage has since expanded. Hunik Kwon and Byung-Ho Chung, for example, argue that contemporary North Korea is a theatre state. In Geertz’s original usage, the concept of the theatre state contests the notion that precolonial society can be analysed in the conventional discourse of Oriental despotism.