Community as Leadership

Community as Leadership

New Horizons in Leadership Studies series

Gareth Edwards

This book takes a fresh look at leadership through the paradigm of community. Community as Leadership develops leadership thought through important aspects of understanding community, such as individualism, sense of belonging, friendship, social networks, symbolism, liminality, language and ethics. The book also explores more critical and postmodern perspectives of leadership and community and examines themes for future research, as well as suggesting ideas and implications for leadership learning.

Chapter 5: Leadership, liminality and social drama

Gareth Edwards

Subjects: politics and public policy, leadership


There is a motel in the heart of every man. Where the highway begins to dominate the landscape, beyond the limits of a large and reduplicating city, near a major point of arrival and departure: this is most likely where it stands . . . One hundred hermetic rooms . . . Repeated endlessly on the way to your room, you can easily forget who you are; you sit on your bed and become man sitting on bed, an abstraction to compete with infinity itself; out of such places and moments does modern chaos raise itself to the level of mathematics. Despite its great size, the motel seems temporary. This feeling may rise simply from the knowledge that no one lives here for more than one or two days at a time. (DeLillo, Americana, 1971, p. 257). The quote above introduces and illustrates well the concept of liminality, which has also been described by Kamau (2002, p. 18) as episodes when: . . . boundaries become fluid and identity becomes ambiguous. Normal regulations fall aside and life becomes dangerous, unpredictable, supercharged and exciting.

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