Political Leadership Themes, Contexts, and Critiques

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  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2014-01-14
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
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Despite its recognized significance in social life, leadership is a notoriously elusive subject that generates a host of different points of explanatory focus. This is particularly so in the field of political leadership, which has been afflicted by an enduring split between the biographical idiosyncrasies of individual leaders and the specialist contributions from an array of social science disciplines. This new study is designed to establish an improved balance between this often myopic and confusing bifurcation of approaches. It engages with an expansive range of empirical, theoretical, and interpretive research into the issue of leadership but does so in a way that ensures that the political character of the subject is kept securely in the foreground. The project is therefore designed to maintain a clear emphasis upon leaders embedded in their political contexts and viscerally connected to high level issues of political location and status, political power and legitimacy, and political functions and contingencies.

The book has a cumulative design that moves from an in-depth analysis of the basic components of political leadership to an examination of a series of key dimensions relating to leadership activity and development--namely the themes of representation, communication, marketing, business practice, and the issue of women leaders. It goes on to survey the developmental properties of the international sphere before concluding with a substantive review of the changing landscapes of contemporary leadership activity and the different ways that we come to terms with the theme of political leadership in an increasingly complex world.

Author Biography

Michael Foley, Professor of International Politics, University of Aberystwyth

Michael Foley teaches at the Department of International Politics at Aberystwyth University. He was Head of Department from 2008 to 2013. He has published widely, including an acclaimed study of the US Senate and an extensive examination of the cultural influence of Newtonian mechanics upon American politics. He has developed a wide portfolio of interests that include the British politics, leadership studies, constitutional development, foreign policy, international relations, the devices of populism and the role of ideas in political engagement. Work in the latter category resulted in the publication of American Credo: The Place of Ideas in US Politics (Oxford University Press 2007). He is also conducting research into (i) the dynamics of contemporary populism; (ii) the role of new media technologies as a medium of political activity; and (iii) the issue of prime ministerial power in the UK system. He is currently joint editor of International Relations.

Table of Contents

1. Approaching the study of political leadership
Core elements and relations
2. Doing leadership: Types, styles and contingency
3. Being a leader: Personal interiors and political externalities
4. Experiencing leadership: Factors in followership
5. Losing it: Leadership as a life-cycle
Contexts and claims
6. The business of leadership: Cross-sector interplays
7. Representation, communication and the politics of 'leadership stretch'
8. Women leaders: A case of problematic parameters
Outside the box
9. Leaders abroad: The promise of abnormal politics
10. International leadership: Dealing with a contextual conundrum
11. New iterations and expansion joints
12. Coming to terms with political leadership

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