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How can charisma (Max Weber) be used as a political instrument?

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HOW CAN CHARISMA (MAX WEBER) BE USED AS A POLITICAL INSTRUMENT? Charisma is a quality of an individual personality that is considered extraordinary, and followers may consider this quality to be endowed with supernatural, superhuman, or exceptional powers or qualities. Whether such powers actually exist or not is irrelevant - the fact that followers believe that such powers exist is what is important. Charismatic leadership has emerged in all places and in all historical ages. For example, we have the Kwaio 'Big Man' of Melanesia (Sahlins, 1963) compared to the black ghetto in Chicago (Kochman, 1960's). First and foremost, since the task is to define how charisma can be used as a political instrument, it is important to discuss 'functionalism'. Bronislaw Malinowski introduced the concept of Functionalism. It is universal theory and posits that all cultural "traits" are functionally interrelated and form an integrated social whole. ...read more.


his wealth. The ability to exchange gifts with a large number of people is characteristic of the Big Man-also, this ability enables a Big Man to further create ties of mutual obligation. Therefore, many affines and several wives are a good starting point for networking. The egalitarian system of Melanesia enables enterprising individuals to obtain much of their power by forging inter-personal ties of reciprocity with other people. Often though, this isn't enough as a Big Man will have to start giving presents to strangers (sometimes outside of his village) to expand his area of influence. Apart from just being able to create personal ties, it is essential for a Big Man to have a charismatic personality to attract more people, and thereby gain more prestige and renown. A Big Man is a successful entrepreneur, carrying visible symbolic capital as strung shell beads and owning pigs - while prestige acts as the invisible symbolic capital. ...read more.


Charisma plays a big role in both ways. There are many ways of "rapping". Through 'rapping', 'sounding' and 'running it down', the black in the ghetto establishes personality; through 'shucking', 'gripping' and 'copping a plea', he shows he has respect for power; and lastly, through 'jiving' and 'signifying', he stirs up excitement. Ability with words is apparently as highly valued as physical strength. The function of all types of "rapping" (except for 'running it down') serve to project personality, assert oneself, or arouse emotion. To conclude, while the Big Man use charisma for transformation of status to become a renowned and respected leader, the "rappers" use charisma and verbal ability to manipulate and control situations to give himself a winning edge-that is to say, the function of charisma and language suggests that a person, being in social situations which require a series of transactions, is required to be continually ready to gain advantage of a person or situation defend himself against being victimized. ?? ?? ?? ?? Gideon Peter Caringal Social A IB-2 Sample Essay ...read more.

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