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date: 10 April 2021

Abstract and Keywords

Traditionally, the focus of leadership rhetoric research has been upon how rhetoric leads to action, to the outcomes of persuasion. The author’s intention is to add to this developing knowledge by exploring how rhetoric creates—or tries to create—a privileged relationship between speaker and audience, and a special status for the speaker within this. The author analyses how the leader/speaker constructs and ‘imagines’ the relationship, and how he or she is constructed and imagined by the audience. Leadership rhetoric is an act performed, an event. It is, moreover, an act performed within a formative, though not determining, institutional framework, which is itself informed by—as are both leader/speaker and audience—a cultural context. The author’s aim, therefore, is to identify and analyse the interpolation of leadership in rhetoric as a creative act. The chapter then appraises the early twenty-first century state of leadership rhetoric studies in the USA and Europe, and discusses potential future developments.

Keywords: leadership, rhetoric, performance, institutions, culture

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