The Leadership Imagination

The Leadership Imagination

An Introduction to Taxonomic Leadership Analysis

New Horizons in Leadership Studies series

Donald R. LaMagdeleine

In the interest of reimagining leadership as a highly contextual activity with moral overtones, LaMagdeleine argues for blending sociology and history of religions scholarship in leadership analysis of black swan leadership dilemmas. His analysis introduces the term “leadership imagination” to describe the resulting approach.

Chapter 3: Durkheim on the origins of knowledge and culture

Donald R. LaMagdeleine

Subjects: politics and public policy, leadership, social policy and sociology, sociology and sociological theory


After an initial overview of the French intellectual milieu in which Durkheim conducted his scholarly work, this chapter outlines the core concepts of Durkheim’s theory of social structures. Over time he increasingly emphasized religious rituals and myths because he considered them the building blocks of group identity and social activities. In particular, the chapter emphasizes the centrality of collective representations, rituals, myths, and the “cult of the individual” as the keys to understanding Durkheim on collective discourse and the future of human societies. As he explained in The Elementary Forms of Religion, Durkheim considered religious discourse the original cornerstone of collective knowledge; a better pathway for bridging the gap between individual perception and the discernment of truth than had been identified by Immanuel Kant or other thinkers before him.

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