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Edited by Michael Harvey

Open access

Thomas E. Cronin

People everywhere laugh at their political leaders, not only to vent their outrage at ineptness or corruption in government, but also to express a basic instinct for independence from authority. The way we laugh at our political leaders reveals both our humanness and our conflicting expectations for leadership. This essay examines how and why citizens laugh at their leaders (especially American politicians), and what this tells us about the challenges of political leadership.

The functions of political humor are analysed. The role of snark, or snide sarcasm, is described as a parallel culture to the life of politics and leadership. Rich political humor should leave us laughing, curious, and perhaps unsettled, yet not giving up on politics.

Open access

Jen Jones

This essay offers a Humanities approach to leadership scholarship by viewing the practice of responsible leadership through the lens of the philosophy of Emmanuel Levinas. Levinas's ethics is phenomenologically inter-subjective where in temporal human encounters the face of the Other commands responsibility. Levinas's philosophy has been utilized in business ethics scholarship, but has limited presence in leadership studies. Through an interpretive analysis, this essay first demonstrates the connection between ethics and leadership, and then illuminates six primary leadership lessons from Levinas in order to philosophically orient and enlarge the contemporary practice of responsible leadership.

Open access

Nicholas O. Warner

This paper examines leadership as a theme in works of visual art. It begins by identifying some key theoretical issues that arise in the artistic depiction of leadership, especially in comparison to the depiction of leadership through the verbal medium of literature. The paper builds on some earlier studies of the depiction of leadership in art by describing the challenges, limitations, and advantages of studying that depiction from the dual perspectives of art history and of leadership studies, and links the above issues to the analysis of leadership in specific works of art.

Open access

Mark A. Menaldo

Sayyid Qutb is one the twentieth century's most influential Muslim thinkers and one of the ideological founders of the Muslim Brotherhood. This essay surveys the context which shaped his political and ideological ideas and activities and the history of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. In addition, it pays close attention to Qutb's critical reinterpretation of classical Islamic ideas jahiliyyah and hakimiyyah. Through these concepts Qutb articulates a radical division of the world into Muslim and non-Muslim societies, while posing an alternative to secular notions of sovereignty. This essay follows up on the influence of these ideas by discussing how Egypt's current political climate reveals the schism between the Muslim Brotherhood's vision of Islam and liberal democratic politics.

Open access

Edited by Antonio Marturano, J. Thomas Wren and Michael Harvey

Open access

Peter Iver Kaufman

Both Machiavelli and Shakespeare were drawn to Livy's and Plutarch's stories of the legendary field commander turned political inept, Caius Martius, who was honored with the name Coriolanus after sacking the city of Corioles. The sixteenth-century ‘coriolanists’ are usually paired as advocates of participatory regimes and said to have used Coriolanus's virulent opposition to power-sharing in early republican Rome as an occasion to put plebeian interests in a favorable light. This article objects to that characterization, distinguishing Machiavelli's deployment of Coriolanus in his Principe and Discorsi from Shakespeare's depiction of Coriolanus and his critics on stage. The essay that follows puts Machiavelli's and Shakespeare's comments on Caius Martius in the context of the ‘factious practices’ they deplored in late medieval Italy and Elizabethan and early Stuart England, respectively.