Myth, Magic, and Power in Tolkien’s Middle-earth: Developing a Model for Understanding Power and Leadership develops a model of analysis to understand the social power dynamics that occur in human interactions. Siburt uses the creation story in J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Silmarillion as a field of observation for understanding his model of analysis. This book shows how the application of the Social Power Dynamic Model to cultural texts makes it possible to identify, classify, and clarify unique insights about the social power dynamics at work in human societies.
James E. Siburt is assistant professor of sociology of leadership and director of graduate leadership at Immaculata University.
Chapter One: The Power of Story
Chapter Two: A Journey Begins
Chapter Three: A Complex Strategy
Chapter Four: A Palantíri of Observation
Chapter Five: A Power Shown Forth
Chapter Six: An Ominous and Sinister Power
Chapter Seven: A Power Exercised
About the Author
"This book is based on the author’s Social Power Dynamic Model (SPDM), using certain areas of Tolkien’s mythology as a prime example of its illustration and application. While the author clearly states that he is not a Tolkien scholar, his use of Tolkien’s Middle-earth as the field of observation related to the power discourse that exists in all human social interactions is intriguing and fascinating. As a new approach for examining and researching Tolkien’s mythology in relation to power structures, it adds to previous and current scholarship on the myriad ways in which readers interact and relate to Tolkien’s peoples, politics, and social dynamics."
“Myth, Magic, and Power in Tolkien’s Middle-earth: Developing a Model for UnderstandingPower and Leadership by James E. Siburt is an insightful work on social power informed by a rich integration of scholarly works by French, Raven, Foucault, Lukes, Bourdieu, Barthes, Bentham, and others. The book is a pleasure to read and a valuable contribution to our efforts to understand better the complex social power dynamics at work in human societies.”
“James E. Siburt's Myth, Magic, and Power in Tolkien's Middle Earth is a necessary read for theoreticians of power. Siburt organizes pre-existing perspectives on power, and brings to bear on future ones, with a theory called the ‘Social Power Dynamics Model.’ Siburt's work is interdisciplinary and will appeal to people in sociology, cultural studies, literary studies, and philosophy. I recommend this book to anyone who wants to dive into an analysis of power and plot within the worlds of a beloved fantasy author, J.R.R. Tolkien, and to anyone who cares about the politics of worldbuilding in fantasy genres.”