Papa’ Nazarbayev: The Discourse of Charismatic Leadership and Nation-Building in post-Soviet Kazakhstan

Isaacs, Rico (2010) Papa’ Nazarbayev: The Discourse of Charismatic Leadership and Nation-Building in post-Soviet Kazakhstan. Studies in Ethnicity and Nationalism, 10 (3). pp. 435-452. ISSN 1473-8481

Full content URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1754-9469.2011.01089.x

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Abstract

Taking a critical perspective on the Weberian concept of charisma this article examines elite and citizen discourse regarding the perceived charismatic leadership and nation-building achievements of the post-Soviet president of Kazakhstan, Nursultan Nazarbayev. Using a number of ideal type features of
charismatic leadership based on the typology developed by Roger Eatwell, the article argues that Nazarbayev’s leadership does not fit neatly the concept of charisma. Rather, in this instance, Nazarbayev’s perceived charismatic leadership as the father of the Kazakhstani nation, and the single politician capable of meeting the challenges of post-Soviet nation-building, is a constructed discursive force projected from above at the elite level, which resonates with public attitudes towards him at the societal level. Charisma represents a discursive mechanism that emphasises President Nazarbayev’s centrality to the unity, prosperity, and stability of the nation. This charismatic discourse has aided Nazarbayev in consolidating his authoritarian regime and illustrates the existence of a distinct form of post-Soviet charisma.

Keywords:Nationalism, Charisma, post-Soviet politics, Kazakhstan, Neopatrimonialism
Subjects:L Social studies > L200 Politics
L Social studies > L243 Politics of a specific country/region
L Social studies > L260 Comparative Politics
L Social studies > L240 International Politics
Divisions:College of Social Science > School of Social & Political Sciences
ID Code:36911
Deposited On:09 Sep 2019 09:02

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