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 7: The postmodern community and leadership

Gareth Edwards

Subjects: politics and public policy, leadership


Leaders live in a centrifugal field, pulled in opposing directions by the competing demands of novelty and continuity and by those of the institutional and the personal. (Krantz, 2006, p. 224). While some postmodern perspectives have already been explored in the book, such as the reflexive community and the imagined community (see Chapter 4), there are still some postmodern ideas of community that merit further exploration in relation to the study of leadership. For example, postmodern interpretations of community (Agamben, 1993; Blanchot, 1988; Corlett, 1989; Maffesoli, 1996; Nancy, 1991) reflect group membership as fluid and porous – an age of multiple belongings (Delanty, 2003 [2010]). Researchers studying leadership, therefore, should be sympathetic to the idea of multiple belongings and hence be sympathetic to the idea of leadership being multiply distributed. The book has already highlighted this fluidity through notions of multiple belonging in Chapters 2 and 6. Within this chapter, however, a deeper exploration into postmodern perspectives is conducted and linked back to the study of leadership. Community in the postmodern age is seen as being constructed through discourse, media and shared meaning. Further reflections on these aspects of community in relation to leadership are also represented.

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