Contributors to Volume 10, Number 3, of Studies in Ethnicity and Nationalism, examine charisma as the source of political authority.
The multitude of possible relationships between ‘Nation and Charisma’, the theme of the 20th Annual ASEN Conference (13–15 April 2010) on which this special issue is based, are difficult to dissect:
Charismatic leadership can play a relevant role in the political mobilisation of ethnic and national groups as well as their disposition to engage in violent or non-violent conflict, whereby some charismatic leaders such as Adolf Hitler or Slobodan Milosevic have been associated with severe atrocities committed in the name of the nation, while others such as Mohandas Gandhi have become icons for the birth and political emancipation of their national people.
The complexity and occasional inconsistencies inherent in our understanding of charisma and nationalism should be viewed as a reason to continue thinking and writing about the relationship.
The extremely broad thematic, disciplinary, and geographical scope of the articles included in this special issue demonstrates how fruitful such an inquiry can be.