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The Justice and Development Party (JDP) and Erdogan: “Non-charismatic Personalism”

Comparative Politics
Elites
Political Competition
Political Leadership
Political Participation
Political Parties
Populism
Political Sociology
Toygar Sinan Baykan
Kirklareli University
Toygar Sinan Baykan
Kirklareli University

Abstract

In this paper I discuss non-charismatic personalism, a very prevalent yet little studied phenomenon in contemporary politics, with reference to the leadership of the JDP in Turkey. Contrary to widespread belief, I argue that Erdogan is not a charismatic leader but derives his authority and the leadership autonomy in the JDP from another source: “robust action” or “diligence in organisation building”. To support my argument, I elaborate the distinction between non-charismatic and charismatic personalisms. In line with Max Weber (1946) and Ansell and Fish (1999), I argue that charismatic leadership is defined by the exceptional personal and intellectual qualities of the leader and her/his transcendence of the existing legal, institutional, traditional and permanent codes. In its place, non-charismatic personalism puts robust action and diligence in organisation building, securing leadership autonomy through intensive political effort.