This article assesses the rise of President Ahmadinejad from the perspective of the Weberian concept of charismatic authority. It argues that in re-engaging with an authoritative structure founded on charisma, the hard line political establishment of the Islamic Republic have returned to a traditional form of autocratic power which is inherently unstable. The cycle of distress and enthusiasm from which it grows generates a momentum and ideological polarization which the leaders of the Islamic Republic may find increasingly difficult to escape.
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Document Type: Research Article
Professor of Iranian History and Director of the Institute for Iranian Studies at the University of St Andrews and is Associate Fellow of the Middle East Programme, Royal Institute of International Afairs, Chatham House.
July 1, 2008