Political Leadership Specialist Group
This group was founded in the autumn of 2006 with the goal of exploring the issues of political leadership in western societies from a determinately political perspective.
Leadership is a staple of the other social sciences but it has been relatively neglected in the political mainstream even though there are many distinguished studies (dating back to the time of Machiavelli) of political leadership.
The aim of the group is to bring together academics and interested observers (and participants) with a view to developing the theoretical and empirical understanding of political leadership.
James McGregor Burns once remarked that leadership is 'one of the most observed and least understood phenomena on earth'; with this in mind it is the intention of our specialist group to set up conferences and workshops, in the first instance, and to assist or promote research in the near future.
The Study of Political Leadership
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.