Political Leadership in Liberal Democracies

Political Leadership in Liberal Democracies

Political Leadership in Liberal Democracies

Political Leadership in Liberal Democracies

Synopsis

Concentrating on the period since 1945, Political Leadership in Liberal Democracies examines the resources of and constraints on political leaders in contemporary political systems. The book compares six countries to assess the effectiveness of political leadership and its relationship to the nature of institutional structures and political environments. The author argues that while the leadership environment has become more constraining and difficult in recent years, the potential for effective leadership in liberal democracies has not been extinguished.

Excerpt

This textbook aims to provide an introduction to the study of political leadership in liberal democracies. It is part of a series which is designed primarily to be of interest to a student audience both undergraduates and postgraduates. However, it is also hoped that it will be of interest to both the informed general reader and to academics with an interest in some of the issues which surround the study of political leadership. In sum, the intention is to present essential information in a clear, readable and methodical way, while at the same time stimulating further interest in both the study of political leadership in general and the role of political leaders in contemporary politics in particular.

This book provides an introduction to political leadership by analysing the role played by Presidents and Prime Ministers in six liberal democracies — Britain, France, Germany, the United States, Japan and Italy. It focuses on the leadership of the executive. In part, this focus was chosen because it is salient to many of the degree courses that are taken by undergraduate and postgraduate students in English-speaking countries. For good or bad, students have to study the political systems of the above countries and wish to understand why they operate in the way that they do. Less mundanely, this focus has also been chosen because it responds to a widely-perceived gap in the existing academic literature. Perhaps surprisingly, with the exception of the US presidency, there are very few studies of Presidents and Prime Ministers in these countries. For both reasons, it is hoped that this book will serve as a reference for all those people who are interested in learning about the role played by the leaders of these six countries in the context of their respective political systems.

Although this book focuses on Presidents and Prime Ministers, it is not primarily concerned with the role of individuals in the political process. It does not consist of case studies of, for example, Roosevelt, Churchill, de Gaulle, Adenauer, or Thatcher. Reference will be made to all these leaders during the course of the book, but it is not designed as a study of selected personalities, their individual motivations, or the impact they might have had on particular societies. Neither is it . . .

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