Max Weber’s Disciples: Theorizing the Charismatic Aristocracy

Sociological Theory 35 (4):334-358 (2017)
Download Edit this record How to cite View on PhilPapers
While several studies have explored the interactional dynamics of charismatic power, most have neglected the role of what Weber termed the charismatic aristocracy. This article revives the classical concept to respond to contemporary calls for performative, followercentric approaches to charisma. Specifically, the charismatic aristocracy is placed at the center of an analysis of a reiterative moment in charismatization: when influential followers generate content for the emerging charismatic persona. In these germinal moments, the dialogical nature of charisma is most clear, precisely because it is then that charismatic leaders often are not themselves confident in their status and can be found responding to instructional cues—indeed following the lead—of those positioning themselves as obsequious followers. Drawing on 10 years of observations, multistage interviews, and media collections, I provide an interactionist account of the charismatic emergence of John de Ruiter, leader of a successful new religious movement. I conclude by tabling a model that conceives of the charismatic aristocracy as an important fulcrum for expectation, affectation, and recognition in charismatic interactions.
No categories specified
(categorize this paper)
PhilPapers/Archive ID
Revision history
Archival date: 2017-12-31
View upload history
References found in this work BETA
Limited Inc.Derrida, Jacques

View all 27 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Added to PP index

Total views
194 ( #17,297 of 42,943 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
48 ( #14,112 of 42,943 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads since first upload
This graph includes both downloads from PhilArchive and clicks to external links.