New Horizons in Leadership Studies series
Edited by Stephen P. Banks
Chapter 11: Elevating Dissent and Transcending Fear-based Culture at War and at Work
George Cheney and Daniel J. Lair While I was fearing it, it came, But came with less of fear, Because that fearing it so long Had almost made it dear. (Dickinson, 1960: 558) INTRODUCTION: TRYING TO CONNECT SOME DOTS For us this chapter is both something we feel compelled to write and something about which we feel vexed and uncertain. We are drawn to the set of issues indicated in the title above because of what we have been noticing for some years about life in the US: that in a society that publicly values individual expression, active democratic participation and diversity of opinion, there is a great deal of fear about entertaining views outside whatever functions as, or is deﬁned as, the mainstream set of positions at the time (see Lapham, 2004). This is as true at work as it is in politics and in the popular media. But ‘fear’ really doesn’t capture the entire range of sentiments around us: alongside that emotion there seem to be feelings of apathy, alienation, resignation and retreat (Westen, 2007). In fact, these are the sentiments and stances that have been apparent to us and to others in a great many conversations in recent years, and in particularly since September 11, 2001. Of course, many scholars and pundits bemoan the apparently shrinking public sphere, especially in terms of the lack of vibrancy of political discussions, even as they themselves in many instances bow to the conversion of news and opinion into entertainment....
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