Leadership in Precarious Contexts: Studying Political Leaders after the Global Financial Crisis

Open Access Journal | ISSN: 2183-2463

Leadership in Precarious Contexts: Studying Political Leaders after the Global Financial Crisis


  • Cristine de Clercy Department of Political Science, Western University, Canada
  • Peter Ferguson Department of Political Science, Western University, Canada


Abstract  A series of crises and traumatic events, such as the 9/11 attacks and the 2008 global financial crisis, seem to have influenced the environment within which modern political leaders act. We explore the scholarly literature on political leadership and crisis since 2008 to evaluate what sorts of questions are being engaged, and identify some new lines of inquiry. We find several scholars are contributing much insight from the perspective of leadership and crisis management. Several analysts are investigating the politics of crisis from a decentralist perspective, focusing on local leadership in response to challenging events. As well, studying how citizens interpret, respond to, or resist leaders’ signals is a developing area of inquiry. While our study reveals some debate about the nature of crisis, and whether the context has changed significantly, most of the scholarship reviewed here holds modern politicians face large challenges in exercising leadership within precarious contexts.


Keywords  complexity; elites; global financial crisis; leaders; leadership; leadership literature; political leadership; risk; uncertainty


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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.17645/pag.v4i2.582