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Although the topic of political leadership has been summarily dismissed because of its assimilation to the ‘Great Man’ view of politics (a direct result of the works of Carlyle and that school of thought).

Yet leadership is a key area of study and it is a test bed for assumptions about political behaviour and models and approaches in contemporary political science.

It has been generally agreed that leadership as a political institution has had effects on the wider systems even if those are uncertain and the mechanisms of causality are disputed.

The group looks to involve American contributions based on the work of the students of the presidency as a phenomenon of political leadership in its discourse, symbolism and ‘hersthetics’.

There are, of course, distinguished studies of political leadership from different angles and approaches in the UK (these include the works of Atkinson, Blondel, Ionescu, and of Iremonger and others) but these need to be supported by further work in this field.

The group’s remit is wide and it does not exclude looking at the ethical/moral aspects of political leadership, rhetorical leadership as the role of the political entrepreneur, leadership in the solution to collective action problems as well as at the empirical and statistical aspects of political leadership through both comparative studies and case studies.

Agenda

The intention of the group is to open up the exploration western political leadership from the viewpoint of the discipline in its many aspects, practical and moral, and to disseminate this material.

We are interested in comparable western systems because these have an approximate equivalence and they face similar problems of governance (we have excluded dictatorship and military governments which are specialist areas in themselves).

We

Although the topic of political leadership has been summarily dismissed because of its assimilation to the ‘Great Man’ view of politics (a direct result of the works of Carlyle and that school of thought).

Yet leadership is a key area of study and it is a test bed for assumptions about political behaviour and models and approaches in contemporary political science.

It has been generally agreed that leadership as a political institution has had effects on the wider systems even if those are uncertain and the mechanisms of causality are disputed.

The group looks to involve American contributions based on the work of the students of the presidency as a phenomenon of political leadership in its discourse, symbolism and ‘hersthetics’.

There are, of course, distinguished studies of political leadership from different angles and approaches in the UK (these include the works of Atkinson, Blondel, Ionescu, and of Iremonger and others) but these need to be supported by further work in this field.

The group’s remit is wide and it does not exclude looking at the ethical/moral aspects of political leadership, rhetorical leadership as the role of the political entrepreneur, leadership in the solution to collective action problems as well as at the empirical and statistical aspects of political leadership through both comparative studies and case studies.

Agenda

The intention of the group is to open up the exploration western political leadership from the viewpoint of the discipline in its many aspects, practical and moral, and to disseminate this material.

We are interested in comparable western systems because these have an approximate equivalence and they face similar problems of governance (we have excluded dictatorship and military governments which are specialist areas in themselves).

We should emphasise that we are interested in political leadership both in theoretical terms and in a wide range of political contexts – political parties, national governments, supranational bodies, sub-national and regional bodies, comparative studies etc.

We will include administrative/bureaucratic leadership and the initial group includes members who have written on leadership in Whitehall.

In addition we are interested in contemporary studies and historical angles but we would like to bridge the gap between the popular views of politics (very leadership oriented) and academic studies (which emphasise the long-term and impersonal).

Aims and Objectives

  1. To provide a constructive critique and application of current theories of political leadership.
  2. Develop concepts and models of political leadership.
  3. Bring to bear interdisciplinary insights into political leadership.
  4. Evaluate the recent theories of leadership as developed by researchers (mainly United States) and test these in European circumstances.
  5. Use case studies to explore the nature of political leadership in circumstances of opposition and government as well as in coalition building and party leadership. (In such areas of study we would hope to apply for panel(s) at the Elections, Public Opinion and Parties (EPOP) specialist group conferences).
  6. Seek to build a more solid understanding of political leadership in Western liberal democracies through hypothesis testing and model building.
  7. To bring the ideas of about political leadership and its evaluation into the mainstream of the political and social sciences in Britain and Europe.
  8. To apply the lessons of political leadership studies to individual cases and to promote the understanding of the techniques involved in political leadership in different European contexts.
  9. To contribute to the academic, political and public debate about political leadership.