1st Edition

Modern Leaders: Between Charisma and Trickery

    256 Pages
    by Routledge

    256 Pages
    by Routledge

    This book considers the current striking rise of ‘outsider’ political leaders, catapulted, apparently, from nowhere, to take charge of a nation. Arguing that such leaders can be better understood with the help of the anthropologically based concept of ‘the trickster’, it offers studies of contemporary political figures from the world stage – including Presidents Macron, Tsipras, Orbán and Bolsonaro, among others – to examine the ways in which charismatic and trickster modalities can become intertwined, especially under the impact of theatrical public media. Looking beyond the commonly invoked notion of ‘charisma’ to revisit the question of political leadership in light of the recent rise of new type of ‘outsider’ leaders, Modern Leaders: Between Charisma and Trickery offers an account of leadership informed by social and anthropological theory. As such, it will appeal to scholars across the social sciences with interests in political thought and the problem of political leadership.


    Agnes Horvath, Arpad Szakolczai, and Manussos Marangudakis

    Part I: On Charis and Charisma

    1. Beyond Charisma: Catacombing Sensual Governance by a Painful Breaking of Human Ties

    Agnes Horvath

    2. Charisma: From Divine Gift to the Democratic Leader-shop

    Camil F. Roman

    Part II: Plato’s Statesman

    3. The Virtues of Leadership: Beyond the Pleasure Principle

    Arpad Szakolczai

    4. Constituting Power: Plato’s Weaving of Human Emotions

    Harald Wydra

    5. Plato’s Statesman: Defending Phronesis from Coding

    John O’Brien

    Part III: Contemporary Case Studies

    6. A Study in Charisma and Trickery: The Case of Alexis Tsipras and SYRIZA

    Manussos Marangudakis

    7. The Trickster Logic in Latin-America: Leadership in Argentina and Brazil

    Osvaldo Javier López Ruiz, Fabiana Augusta Alves Jardim and Ana Lúcia Teixeira

    8. Political Leadership in Contemporary France: The Case of Emmanuel Macron

    Helen Drake

    9. The Failure of Democracy in Italy: From Berlusconi to Salvini

    Daniel Gati

    10. Viktor Orbán’s Leadership: The Prince, the Political Father, and the Doomed Trickster

    Zoltán Balázs

    11. Duplicity, Corruption and Exceptionalism in the Romanian Experience of Modernity

    Marius Ion Bența

    Concluding Comments

    Agnes Horvath, Arpad Szakolczai, and Manussos Marangudakis


    Agnes Horvath is a founding and chief editor of International Political Anthropology. She taught in Hungary, Ireland and Italy, and was affiliate visiting scholar and supervisor at the University of Cambridge. She is the author of Modernism and Charisma, the co-author of Walking into the Void, and The Political Sociology and Anthropology of Evil: Tricksterology, and the co-editor of Breaking Boundaries: Varieties of Liminality.

    Arpad Szakolczai is Professor of Sociology at University College Cork, Ireland, and previously taught Social Theory at the European University Institute in Florence. He is the author of Max Weber and Michel Foucault, Reflexive Historical Sociology, Comedy and the Public Sphere, and Permanent Liminality and Modernity, and the co-author of From Anthropology to Social Theory: Rethinking the Social Sciences.

    Manussos Marangudakis is Professor of Comparative Cultural Sociology at the University of the Aegean, Greece and previously has taught at Queen’s University in Belfast and the University of Ulster. He is the author of The Greek Disaster and its Cultural Origins, Greek Anarchism as a Religious Phenomenon, Genealogies of Sociology, and American Fundamentalism.