Charisma & Authenticity in Global Politics
Political scientists have argued that the last thirty years have been marked by an increasing presence of political personalization: we pay more attention to personalities than to institutions, policies or parties. While this is widely accepted, we still know little about how political personalities are constructed in the media. Through the examples of liberal, illiberal, and authoritarian leaders worldwide, this course will analyze charisma, charm and authenticity as “keywords” of contemporary societies and global politics. The traditional quality of „charisma“ referred to exceptional, almost divine characteristics and rhetorical performances of male politicians, who were distant from their audiences. In contrast, charm is a magic spell that is both seductive and deceptive, and is built on a leader’s proximity to intended audiences. Politicians now have to appear as “one of us.” With savvy methods, they charm and fuse with their diverse and fragmented audiences on social and legacy media. Without understanding how these seductive personalities rise to power, attract attention in new media, and then often fall out of favor, we cannot grasp the current complex and fragile political times we live in.
First Year Seminar: Charisma and Authenticity in Global Politics
This course will focus on how the charisma, charm and authenticity of politicians is communicated in online environments. First, we will review the interdisciplinary literature on authenticity, charisma and new media. Then, we will turn our attention to examples from many parts of the world, doing close readings of politicians‘ profiles on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. We will also consider how the mediated authenticity of politicians defers from the image of other „influencers“.
GSOC 6990, Spring 2022
Ind Senior Project
LSOC 4990, Spring 2022