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Dilemmas of Leadership

When you'll study it
Semester 2
CATS points
15
ECTS points
7.5
Level
Level 6
Module lead
Jack Corbett

Module overview

Have you ever considered what it takes to be a political leader? Have you ever wondered why political leaders make the decisions that they do? Have you ever thought about the types of dilemmas that leaders face every day as the seek to enact forms of democratic politics? Modern democracies place enormous expectations on their leaders. In popular talk, new, better or stronger leadership is the favoured solution to almost every policy problem we face, from climate change to Brexit. Press coverage of politics focuses almost exclusively on the lives of leaders, both public and private. And yet, when scholars study and teach politics we often look past leaders, and focus instead on institutions, parties, economics and demographic drivers of social and political change.

This course seeks to redress this imbalance by providing an introduction to the role of leadership in politics and policy-making. We will consider politics from the perspective of the individual leader. We will focus on the dilemmas that leaders confront as the seek to enact forms of democratic governance. We will ask whether political leadership is distinctive from other forms of leadership. Our course material will be drawn from case studies of actual leaders, from antiquity to the present day. We will not neglect institutions but rather than getting bogged down in debate about the extent to which leaders are constrained by them, we will consider how what leaders do and say constitutes institutional regimes.

Linked modules

Pre-requisites: PAIR1001 OR PAIR1002 OR PAIR1004 OR PAIR1005

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