PSCI 369
The Crisis of Leadership Spring 2018 Division II; Cross-listed as PSCI369 / LEAD369
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It is now a commonplace that the liberal democracies of Europe and North America (and beyond) are facing a “crisis of leadership.” In country after country, champions of cosmopolitan values and moderate reform are struggling to build sufficient popular support for their programs. These failures have created space for a politics of populism, ethno-nationalism, and resentment–an “anti-leadership insurgency” which, paradoxically, has catapulted charismatic (their critics would say demagogic) leaders to the highest offices of some of the largest nations on earth. In this course, we will seek to understand the challenges liberal, cosmopolitan leadership has encountered in the 21st century and the reasons why populist, nationalist leadership has proven resurgent. We will begin by examining institutional constraints facing political leaders: globalization, sclerotic institutions, polarization, endemic racism, and a changing media environment. Then we will look at some important factors which shape how followers approach would-be leaders: inequality and economic precarity; identity and group consciousness; notions of membership, community, and hierarchy; and declining local institutions. Our primary questions will be these: Why is transformative leadership so difficult today? How does political leadership in the 21st century differ from leadership in earlier eras? What conditions are necessary to sustain effective leadership in the contemporary world?
The Class: Type: seminar
Limit: 19
Expected: 19
Class#: 3261
Requirements/Evaluation: class participation, regular response papers, research proposal, research paper
Extra Info: may not be taken on a pass/fail basis; not available for the fifth course option
Extra Info 2: this is a research course; the primary written assignment will be a research paper which students will develop over the course of the semester
Prerequisites: none
Enrollment Preference: Political Science majors, Leadership Studies concentrators
Distributions: Division II;
Attributes: LEAD American Domestic Leadership

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