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Dispersed Democratic LeadershipOrigins, Dynamics, and Implications$
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John Kane, Haig Patapan, and Paul 't Hart

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780199562992

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199562992.001.0001

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Life after Political Death: The Fate of Leaders after Leaving High Office

Life after Political Death: The Fate of Leaders after Leaving High Office

(p.279) Chapter 15 Life after Political Death: The Fate of Leaders after Leaving High Office
Dispersed Democratic Leadership

John Keane

Oxford University Press

Understood as forms of government and ways of life in which no body rules because power is subject to periodic elections as well as publicly monitored and contested from a multiplicity of sites, contemporary democracies are remarkable in the way they dispense with the fetish of leaders. Democracies certainly need leaders, they multiply their numbers, respect them, follow them, learn from them — but they do not worship them as leaders blessed with metaphysical powers. Democracies specialize in bringing leaders down to earth. They manage to do this by using a variety of formal methods and informal customs that require leaders to leave office peacefully, without staging ruthless comebacks, so enabling other leaders to take their place without kidnappings or gunfire, bomb blasts, or street upheavals.

Keywords:   office dependency, political leaders, representative democracy, civil society, ethical responsibility, political elite

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