ERIC Number: ED162359
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1977-Dec
Reference Count: 0
Perspectives on Symbolic Leadership and Political Fragmentation in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Schneider, Michael J.
In "The Symbolic Uses of Politics," Edelman presents the thesis that the symbolic output of a political system is a primary force in the development of the system's legitimacy. An examination of this thesis in the context of the political systems of several emerging nations in Sub-Saharan Africa reveals that it must be refined. Because the problem of achieving politicial legitimacy is more acute in these countries, it seems that symbolic output is more immediately vital to the survival of "promising" political regimes (as opposed to military dictatorships). Symbolic output also takes a somewhat different form in these nations. The countries have few traditional national rituals, and symbolic (charismatic) leadership plays a much more pronounced role. A brief comparison of the symbolic leadership styles of Kwame Nkrumah (who had charismatic appeal but lost it) and three leaders (Jules Nyerere of Tanzania, Houphouet-Boigny of the Ivory Coast, and Jomo Kenyatta of Kenya) who have maintained charisma long after the independence of their countries, suggests that it is fruitful to apply communication principles to the study of the rise and fall of charisma in Africa. (Author/FL)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Africa; Charisma
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Speech Communication Association (63rd, Washington, D.C., December 1-4, 1977)