Paradox and Power in Caring Leadership
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Paradox and Power in Caring Leadership

Critical and Philosophical Reflections

Edited by Leah Tomkins

Why does it matter that our leaders care about us? What might we reasonably expect from a caring leader, and what price are we prepared to pay for it? Is caring leadership something ‘soft’, or can it be linked to strategy and delivery? International scholars from the fields of ancient and modern philosophy, psychology, organization studies and leadership development offer a strikingly original debate on what it means for leaders to care.
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Chapter 10: Care and security in Vergils Aeneid: an analysis of the politics of empire

Michèle Lowrie


In Vergil’s Aeneid, caring leaders who ensure security for their people appear as a tragically unachievable political ideal. The frailty of the human spirit, however, surpasses individual responsibility. A systemic problem with security arises within the concept itself. Latin securitas means being apart (se-) from care (cura). While separation from care as worry is psychologically desirable, being carefree can tip into being careless. Securitas also comes to mean a failure to tend, which can be disastrous. In the epic, a variety of leaders, female and male, exemplify a range of ways security falls short. The hero Aeneas first appears as a good-enough leader, but the burdens of his task – to lead Trojan refugees to a new foundation in Italy – challenge his ability to tend fully to others or himself. In the end, his psychological breakdown sets Rome on a destructive path of civil war and imperial conquest.

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