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Democracy and Leadership

On Pragmatism and Virtue

Eric Thomas Weber

Democracy and Leadership: On Pragmatism and Virtue presents a theory of leadership drawing on insights from Plato’s Republic, while abandoning his authoritarianism in favor of John Dewey’s democratic thought. The book continues the democratic turn for the study of leadership beyond the incorporation of democratic values into old-fashioned views about leading. The completed democratic turn leaves behind the traditional focus on a class of special people. Instead, leadership is understood as a process of judicious yet courageous guidance, infused with democratic values and open to all people.

The book proceeds in three parts, beginning with definitions and an understanding of the nature of leadership in general and of democratic leadership in particular. Then, Part II examines four challenges for a democratic theory of leadership. Finally, in Part III, the theory of democratic leadership is put to the test of addressing problems of poverty, educational frustration, and racial divides, particularly aggravated in Mississippi.
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Lexington Books
Pages: 330Size: 6 x 9
978-0-7391-5122-8 • Hardback • November 2013 • $95.00 • (£65.00)
978-0-7391-5123-5 • Paperback • January 2015 • $39.99 • (£24.95)
978-0-7391-5124-2 • eBook • November 2013 • $37.99 • (£24.95)
Eric Thomas Weber is associate professor of public policy leadership at the University of Mississippi. He is the author of Rawls, Dewey, and Constructivism and Morality, Leadership, and Public Policy.

Part I The Nature of Leadership and the Democratic Turn
Chapter 1 Leadership, Old and New: Aims and Definitions
Chapter 2 Lessons from Plato
Chapter 3 Dewey on Democratic Leadership
Chapter 4 Democratic Political Leadership

Part II Intellectual, Moral, and Cultural Challenges for Leadership
Chapter 5 Wisdom in Pragmatic Humanism
Chapter 6 How Is Leadership Learned?
Chapter 7 Democratic Leadership, East and West
Chapter 8 Ethics and Justice for Democratic Leadership

Part III A Test for Democratic Leadership
Chapter 9 Democracy and Leadership in Mississippi
Chapter 10 Conclusion

Weber is direct and interesting.... Weber demonstrates critical and creative thinking skills when detailing solutions to public problems such as the controversial presence of sex education and corporal punishment in public schools, and the challenge of respecting free speech while confronting the prospects of a KKK rally at the University of Mississippi.... Weber’s book is useful and even inspiring, and the weight of common opinion should incline in favor of this work.
The Pluralist

This book will certainly re-orient the field of leadership studies, but its impact will extend beyond that field. By connecting leadership with broader issues about participatory democracy, Weber will find grateful readers across political theory. He strikes a tone of optimistic practicality that especially rings true for pragmatic generation Xers and civic-minded Millennials. This book and its author are positioned as precisely that sort of new public voice capable of leading the next generations as they rise into political power and leadership themselves.
John Shook, University at Buffalo, New York

From Plato through today's college students, Eric Weber's Democracy and Leadership carefully examines the pedagogy of leadership development. Because the book is so rich in content and style, you can add Weber's name to a select list of noted Southern scholars and writers.
James L. "Skip" Rutherford, University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service

This superbly researched and written book defines more clearly than anything that I have read in recent years the elements that are essential for a democratic political system to fulfill its proper mission. Coming as it does in a time of diminished public decision-making capability, particularly at the national government level, this volume points the way out of our current malaise. It should be read by every citizen who wants to see our system work as well as it is capable of. As a former governor of Mississippi, I can attest to the value of the wise and pragmatic counsel it contains.
William F. Winter, former governor of Mississippi