Charisma - Elusive or Explanatory?: A Critical Examination of Leadership in New Religious Movements

Although Max Weber's analysis of charisma has been highly influential, it is not altogether clear what it explains. Using four case studies - Charles Taze Russell, Sun Myung Moon, Kelsang Gyatso, and the anonymous founder of the Church of Almighty God - it is argued that these leaders do not sh...

Full description

Saved in:  
Bibliographic Details
Published in:Fieldwork in religion
Main Author: Chryssides, George D. 1945-
Format: Electronic Article
Language:English
Check availability: HBZ Gateway
Journals Online & Print:
Drawer...
Published: Equinox 2021
In: Fieldwork in religion
Year: 2021, Volume: 16, Issue: 1, Pages: 35-54
Standardized Subjects / Keyword chains:B Russell, Charles Taze 1852-1916 / Moon, Sun M. 1920-2012 / Kelsang Gyatso, Geshe 1931-2022 / Quánnéng Shén Jiàohuì / Religious leader / Charisma
IxTheo Classification:AD Sociology of religion; religious policy
AZ New religious movements
Further subjects:B Charisma
B Leadership
B Max Weber
B New Religious Movements
B Charles Taze Russell
B Church of Almighty God
B Sun Myung Moon
B Kelsang Gyatso
Online Access: Volltext (lizenzpflichtig)
Volltext (lizenzpflichtig)
Description
Summary:Although Max Weber's analysis of charisma has been highly influential, it is not altogether clear what it explains. Using four case studies - Charles Taze Russell, Sun Myung Moon, Kelsang Gyatso, and the anonymous founder of the Church of Almighty God - it is argued that these leaders do not share any common set of characteristics by virtue of which they could be described as "charismatic". To account for their following, one must look to factors extraneous to the leader; Eileen Barker's notion of "charismatization" is developed here, showing how followers learn to be deferential towards the leader, and how hagiographical accounts are used. In addition, the role of the ambient culture is highly relevant, and the growing lack of religious literacy encourages seekers to accept a leader's teachings insufficiently critically. The leader also needs to "maintain charisma", dealing with potential rivals, and asserting the exclusivity of their teachings. Finally, the roles of media publicity and finance are highly relevant to maintaining a new religious organization.
ISSN:1743-0623
Contains:Enthalten in: Fieldwork in religion
Persistent identifiers:DOI: 10.1558/firn.18867