Leadership by Resentment

Leadership by Resentment

From Ressentiment to Redemption

New Horizons in Leadership Studies series

Ruth Capriles

The author explores the conditions that foster the development of ressentiment, the role of leaders and followers, and the phases of the phenomenon as it encourages destructive behaviors such as murder and suicide. Often considered an incurable disease with destructive social and political repercussions, it is a core motive for acts of terrorism, revolutions, social upheavals and processes of toxic leadership. The author puts forth a model that helps to describe certain historical processes led by ressentiment, like some revolutions and terrorist acts, and to distinguish them from other movements that are usually treated as similar (e.g., independence revolutions). The book then tackles a seemingly impossible question: Can we find a cure for this powerful and destructive impulse? With care and deliberation, the author demonstrates the power of ethical leadership, recognition and redemption as positive unifying forces during human conflicts.

Chapter 4: The social characteristic

Ruth Capriles

Subjects: politics and public policy, leadership

Extract

Ressentiment is an emotion, thereby ascribable to the individual and describable as a psychological disease. Nevertheless, all authors reviewed follow it through the sociological, political and historical dimensions. For Nietzsche, it was a historical phenomenon engulfing all Europe into nihilism; for Scheler, a social phenomenology leading to decay in modern society; for Marañón and García-Pelayo, a motive propelling leaders towards violent political action. Ressentiment seems to be important for sociology, political science and history; but how can we extend its meaning to aggregations of individuals in groups, masses, multitudes, societies, without committing the fallacy of the wrong level, or of attributing to the group the characteristics of the individual?

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