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Extraordinary Leadership and Radical Change in Democracy (ExtraLead)
Date du début: 1 sept. 2011, Date de fin: 31 août 2013 PROJET  TERMINÉ 

This project aims to study how radical change in democracy is effectuated by political leadership. In the classical liberal view, democracy is associated with ordinary institutional processes, juridical continuity, entrenched interest groups, extensive de-politicization, and gradual change. But democracies do not only develop in evolutionary manner; they also experience breaks and undergo new institutional beginnings. This project is motivated by the observation that such radical changes in democracy often originate from “extraordinary” individual leaders, able to disturb normal politics and provide new beginnings. I seek to explain the parameters of such leadership, develop a model of its workings, and test this model against empirical evidence. In addition, I also aspire to build a scholarly network for the study of political leadership in the contemporary European context in a systematic and theoretically sophisticated way. This MC Fellowship will be hosted by the European University Institute and supervised by Prof. Peter Mair, an established scholar in the field of comparative politics. Working within the EUI environment, this project will allow me to achieve my major training and research goals which are the improvement of scientific expertise and research skills; the interdisciplinary transfer of knowledge; and the establishment of a broad scholarly network for the further study of political leadership in Europe. Being already an experienced researcher, this project would further enhance my individual competences and advance my standing as an independent scholar within the European research community. To the extent that today there is a growing need for studying the role of political leaders able to undertake radical constitutive changes in our contemporary democracies, the proposed research would greatly contribute to EU-based production of scientific excellence in an important area, thus supporting the further development of the European Research Area.