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Inventing Leadership
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Inventing Leadership

The Challenge of Democracy

9781840649550 Edward Elgar Publishing
J. Thomas Wren, Professor of Leadership Studies, Jepson School of Leadership Studies, University of Richmond, US
Publication Date: 2007 ISBN: 978 1 84064 955 0 Extent: 424 pp
The tension between ruler and ruled in democratic societies has never been satisfactorily resolved, and the competing interpretations of this relationship lie at the bottom of much modern political discourse. In this fascinating book, Thomas Wren clarifies and elevates the debates over leadership by identifying the fundamental premises and assumptions that underlie past and present understandings.

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Contents
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The tension between ruler and ruled in democratic societies has never been satisfactorily resolved, and the competing interpretations of this relationship lie at the bottom of much modern political discourse. In this fascinating book, Thomas Wren clarifies and elevates the debates over leadership by identifying the fundamental premises and assumptions that underlie past and present understandings.

The author traces the intellectual history of the central constructs: the leader, the people, and, ultimately, the relationship between them as they seek to accomplish societal objectives. He begins with a discussion of the invented notion of the classical paragon of a ruler. Next he pursues the invention of the countervailing concept of a sovereign people, and finally, the need for the invention of a new construct – leadership – which embodies a new relation between ruler and ruled in regimes dedicated to power in the people. In doing so, he draws upon the giants of the Western intellectual tradition as well as the insights of modern historians, political scientists, sociologists and leadership scholars. The book concludes with a proposed model of leadership for a modern democratic world.

Elegantly written and masterfully argued, this comprehensive study will be essential reading for students and scholars of leadership and democracy.
Critical Acclaim
‘Tom Wren’s book is a masterpiece of intellectual history. It explores the philosophical and historical foundations of democracy in a compelling way. Wren is a sparkling and graceful writer. He makes a potentially dry subject come alive with wit and insight. The issues Wren addresses are extremely timely, as the United States endeavors to advance democracy in the Middle East.’
– George Goethals, University of Richmond, US

‘In this important analysis of democratic thought and treatise on leadership, historian Tom Wren drills down to the essential intellectual paradox: that “leadership” and “democracy” are inherently hostile concepts. Wren brilliantly strips down our “fictions” concerning these domains in his extensive deconstruction of both classical and modern thought. What emerges is a dialectical awakening and a practical new vision of citizen participation and enlightened leadership.’
– Georgia Sorenson, James MacGregor Burns Academy of Leadership, University of Maryland, College Park and US Army

‘An excellent scholarly work that is well written and highly relevant within the context of contemporary politics. Although essential reading for teachers and students of political theory, it will also interest the general reader and armchair politician.’
– First Trust Bank Economic Outlook and Business Review

‘Wren is to be commended for attempting to lay bare the underlying assumptions and premises that inform any approach to politics. . . an important contribution to an ongoing conversation about what contemporary leadership should look like. Undergraduates will benefit from his review of important theorists, and practitioners should be challenged by Wren’s own theses about leadership. Highly recommended. All readership levels.’
– M.J. Watson, Choice
Contents
Contents: Foreword Preface Prologue: Of Fictions, Implicit Theories, and Leadership in a Democracy Part I: Inventing the Leader 1. The Classical Ideal of the Leader 2. The Classical Ideal in Republics Part II: Inventing the People 3. A New Conception of the People Part III: Inventing Leadership 4. A New Social Relation 5. The Challenge of Democracy 6. James Madison and the Classical Ideal 7. Tocqueville and the Challenges of Democracy 8. Inventing Liberalism 9. Inventing Communitarianism Part IV: Reinventing Leadership 10. A New Fiction of Leadership Index
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