"Charisma macht müde Demokratien munter" – Zum diskursiven Zusammenhang von Charisma und Demokratie

Pamela Steen


"I am charismatic!". If politician described themselves like this, we would probably define them as a peacock and condemn such a vain display. "Barack Obama is charismatic" or "Charisma perks up tired democracies", however, are propositions we can read in newspapers every day. Although they are assumptions about fundamental agencies, they are scarcely questioned. But these ascriptions or assertions must be believed or not, they are elements in a complex constructed belief system which is called politics. This paper employs the method of discourse linguistics to demonstrate how the relation of charisma and democracy can be construed in media discourse. Three main positions can be extracted: Charisma is inevitable for genuine democratic processes like functions and elections. Charisma is useful to overcome post-democratic challenges, and thirdly, charisma is incompatible with democracy, because charisma is an illusion or a pre-democratic phenomenon. In summary, there are different concepts of charisma and democracy, which collude, depending on the argumentation.



DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.13092/lo.73.2198