This book sheds light on the theory of political leadership, which is still an under-researched field of political science. It is related to the philosophical argument about determinism versus activism and helps to understand the basic conflict of the 21st century between liberal democracy and new authoritarianism. The book looks at Max Weber’s typology of political rule and his concept of the ethics of responsibility, which are key to the theory of leadership. The author shows that the unfinished contest between democracy and new authoritarianism in the 21st century confirms the importance of leadership in old and new democracies as well as in the neo-authoritarian regimes and calls for a new type of political leaders.
Political scientists and political sociologists tend to concentrate on the analysis of social forces, often to the extent of ignoring the active role of leading individuals. Two main trends in 19th century philosophy (Hegelian determinism vs. Carlyle’s romanticism) can be reconciled by adopting which interpretation of history based on the concept of „alternative roads“, the choice between which makes political leadership crucial for understanding politics. Leaders play particularly important roles in times of crises. In the 20th century such crises were created by two world wars (with the crucial role of such leaders as Woodrow Wilson, Winston Churcill, Charles de Gaulle, but also Adolph Hitler und Joseph Stalin) and revolutions (with Wladimir Lenin and Mao Zedong as revolutionary leaders of totalitarian states). During the cold war emerged a new type of democratic leadership devoted to the solidarity of democratic states and to the European integration (Konrad Adenauer, Willy Brandt, Robert Schuman). The transition to democracy in the last quarter of the 20th century depended to a large degree on the quality of leaders as demonstrated both by successes and failures of post-dictatorial regimes (Mikhail Gorbachev and Boris Yeltsin in Russia, Lech Walesa and Wojciech Jaruzelski in Poland, Adolfo Suarez in Spain, Nelson Mandela in South Africa etc.).
Prof. Dr. Jerzy J. Wiatr, University of Warsaw, Poland
Zielgruppe: Researchers and lecturers in political science