Charisma is commonly thought of as an extraordinary personal characteristic. In contrast, this paper proposes that charisma is a product of emotional interaction between charismatic leaders and their followers. More specifically, charisma is argued to spring from charismatic leaders' use of emotion rules to redefine both objective and subjective aspects of their followers' realities. Through modeling emotion charismatics first gain legitimacy; then they propose changes in the social order and redefine the emotions necessary for such changes to occur. An analytical model of the emergence of charisma based on the evoking, revoking, and refraining of emotion rules is developed. To tentatively illustrate its utility the model is applied to speeches by Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X. The implications of this analysis of emotional interaction for the study of social change are discussed.
Symbolic Interaction – Wiley
Published: Sep 1, 1985
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