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Leadership Trends in Advanced Democracies


Pakulski, J, Leadership Trends in Advanced Democracies, Sociology Compass, 7, (5) pp. 366-376. ISSN 1751-9020 (2013) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2013 Blackwell Publishing

DOI: doi:10.1111/soc4.12035


Political sociology suggests two inter-related leadership trends in advanced democracies: the increasing prominence of political leaders, and the waning influence on of political parties, especially the ideological-programmatic ‘mass parties’ or Volksparteien. These trends intensified and reinforced each other over the last 30-40 years resulting in a rapidly changing physiognomy of contemporary democracy. Democratic politics becomes more elite driven and more populist in style. Political elite structure increasingly resembles what Weber labelled ‘leader democracy’. This is in clear contrast with ’party democracy’ – a typically party-dominated power configuration predominant in the post-WWII decades, when political power was concentrated in the hands of political directorates of major parties often allied with the top government bureaucrats. The shift towards ‘leader democracy’ has coincided with the process of party-voter dealignment and decline of political parties, the raise of the electronic mass media, and the ascendancy of powerful leaders-reformers in the ‘core’ liberal democracies. The sociological argument about the shift is anchored in a theoretical framework derived from works of Max Weber and Joseph Schumpeter. It depicts democratic political leaders as key political actors embedded in broader elites, motivated by determination and commitment, and empowered by the resources of modern states and the mass media

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:leadership; political elite; democracy; dealignment; Max Weber
Research Division:Human Society
Research Group:Sociology
Research Field:Sociology not elsewhere classified
Objective Division:Law, Politics and Community Services
Objective Group:Government and politics
Objective Field:Government and politics not elsewhere classified
UTAS Author:Pakulski, J (Professor Jan Pakulski)
ID Code:79178
Year Published:2013
Deposited By:School of Social Sciences
Deposited On:2012-08-21
Last Modified:2014-04-03

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