Leadership, Popular Culture and Social Change
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Leadership, Popular Culture and Social Change

Edited by Kristin M.S. Bezio and Kimberly Yost

The newest generation of leaders was raised on a steady diet of popular culture artifacts mediated through technology, such as film, television and online gaming. As technology expands access to cultural production, popular culture continues to play an important role as an egalitarian vehicle for promoting ideological dissent and social change. The chapters in this book examine works and creators of popular culture – from literature to film and music to digital culture – in order to address the ways in which popular culture shapes and is shaped by leaders around the globe as they strive to change their social systems for the better.
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Chapter 6: El Chapo for presidente: an examination of leadership through Mexico’s narcoculture

Patricia D. Catoira and Virginia K. Bratton


The Mexican government gloated when it captured drug lord Joaquin Guzmán in January 2016. But El Chapo is considered a folk hero by many Mexicans for standing up to highly corrupt authorities. These sentiments are reflected in the popular narcocorridos (songs about the drug world) and other forms of (narco) “pop culture.” Their celebration of narco figures and lifestyle is problematic, but, in the Mexican context, it responds to an endemic frustration with failed State and leadership. In this chapter, Catoria and Bratton investigate Guzmán’s manifestation of paternalistic charisma, his relationship with his followers as expressed in popular culture and the political and cultural context that has given rise to his leadership success in Mexico.

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