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Charismatic leaders are believed by their followers to have superhuman powers. The faithful are willing to sacrifice everything, including themselves, for the sake of their leader. Using a number of perspectives that take into account group dynamics and individual character, this book argues that charismatic involvement is a deeply embedded potential for all human beings. The theory is tested through specific cases: Hitler's Germany, Manson's "Family", Jonestown and the experience of shamanism in non-Western societies. The book concludes with a discussion of alternatives to charisma in modern society, focusing especially on romantic love, and considers the form future charismatic moves may take.
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Charles Lindhilm is a University Professor at Boston University. He is currently writing The Anthropology of Islam.From Publishers Weekly:
Suspicious of charisma, Harvard anthropologist Lindholm notes that modern charismatic movements are often entwined with cultish obedience and evil. Hitler, proclaiming himself a living god, swept along his blinded minions trained in dehumanization; the Fuhrer's racist, paranoid vision engulfed an entire nation. On a lesser scale, Charles Manson's murderous "Family" and Jim Jones's suicidal Guyana commune embodied the destructive potential of charismatic attraction. As counterweight to these three chilling case studies, a chapter on shamanism shows that the charismatic's "borderline" state of fluid identity and self-loss is, in some societies, a pathway to spiritual power or healing. This wide-ranging, provocative survey is anchored in a discussion of charisma as understood by Nietzsche, Freud, Max Weber and Emile Durkheim. In closing, Lindholm looks at contemporary substitutes for charismatic involvement--drugs, movie stars, sports heroes, romance, interpersonal attachments--in a culture that increasingly frustrates the desire for self-transcendence.
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Book Description Blackwell Pub, 1990. Hardcover. Condition: New. Brand New!. Seller Inventory # VIB1557860211
Book Description Blackwell Pub, 1990. Condition: New. book. Seller Inventory # M1557860211
Book Description Condition: New. New. Seller Inventory # STR-1557860211