Leader democracy

Thesis Eleven 148 (1):3-20 (2018)
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Abstract

There is a revival of notions of leader democracy and plebiscitary leader democracy both at the level of politics and in academic debate. This paper focuses largely on the latter, with occasional reference to real-world political developments. The paper sketches changes in the nature of contemporary governance; argues that Weber’s and Schumpeter’s account of leader democracy LD) as a means of addressing the crisis of representation has marked affinities with current debates; discusses the possible implications of the re-emergence of a political language of LD. The paper takes a sceptical view, arguing that an appeal to leadership is a symptom of, and contributor towards, the problems it purports to address. Two contemporary defences of LD are discussed: that of the political scientist András Körösényi and that of the political theorist Jeffery Green.

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