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Charismatic Leadership and Social Movements: The Revolutionary Power of Ordinary Men and Women

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Volume 19

International Studies in Social History

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Charismatic Leadership and Social Movements

The Revolutionary Power of Ordinary Men and Women

Edited by Jan Willem Stutje

212 pages, bibliog., index

ISBN  978-0-85745-329-7 $135.00/£99.00 Hb Published (August 2012)

eISBN 978-0-85745-330-3 eBook

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“This volume’s strength lies in its broad range of historical case studies combined with a robust collection of essays addressing conceptual and theoretical aspects of charismatic leadership”  ·  Anthropological Notebooks

This is an interesting and stimulating collection of articles which, taken together, cover both conceptional/theoretical and empirical aspects of the role and features of charisma in general, and charisma in social movements in particular. The range of case studies is impressive.  ·  Dieter Rucht, Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin für Sozialwissenschaft (WZB)


Much of the writing on charisma focuses on specific traits associated with exceptional leaders, a practice that has broadened the concept of charisma to such an extent that it loses its distinctiveness – and therefore its utility. More particularly, the concept’s relevance to the study of social movements has not moved beyond generalizations. The contributors to this volume renew the debate on charismatic leadership from a historical perspective and seek to illuminate the concept’s relevance to the study of social movements. The case studies here include such leaders as Mahatma Gandhi; the architect of apartheid, Daniel F. Malan; the heroine of the Spanish Civil War, Dolores Ibarruri (la pasionaria); and Mao Zedong. These charismatic leaders were not just professional politicians or administrators, but sustained a strong symbiotic relationship with their followers, one that stimulated devotion to the leader and created a real group identity.

Jan Willem Stutje is a research fellow at The Institute of Biography at the University of Groningen. From 2001–05, he was a fellow at the International Institute of Social History and at the Free University of Brussels. He is the author of several biographies including Ernest Mandel: A Rebel’s Dream Deferred (Verso 2009).

Subject: 20th Century History


List of abbreviations

Introduction: Historiographical and theoretical aspects of Weber’s concept of charismatic leadership
Jan Willem Stutje

Part I: The charismatic family

Chapter 1. A New Kind of Force: Examining charisma in the light of Gandhi’s moral authority
Dilip Simeon

Chapter 2. An Unlikely Charismatic Leader: D.F. Malan in a Weberian light
Lindie Koorts

Chapter 3. Bearded, Attractive and Beloved: The Charisma of Ferdinand Domela Nieuwenhuis (1846–1919)
Jan Willem Stutje

Chapter 4. Errico Malatesta and Charismatic Leadership
Carl Levy

Chapter 5. Pasionaria: a Case of Charisma through Representation
Juan Avilés

Chapter 6. Mao Zedong: Charismatic Leadership and the Contradictions of Socialist Revolution
Arif Dirlik

Part II: Charismatic Observations

Chapter 7. Charismatic Leaders, Political Religion and Social Movements. Western Europe at the End of the Nineteenth Century
Henk te Velde

Chapter 8. ‘Je ne sais quoi’: Some reflections on the study of charisma
Marc Reynebeau

Chapter 9. Incendiary Personalities: Uncommon Comments on Charisma in Social Movements
Thomas Welskopp


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