Leadership as zero-institution

Tuomas Kuronen, Aki-Mauri Huhtinen

Forskningsoutput: TidskriftsbidragArtikelVetenskapligPeer review


In this essay, we study the emergence and institutionalization of political leadership. Our empirical case is the presidential leadership of the former Cold War era President of Finland, Urho Kekkonen. Towards the end of his tenure as the president, which lasted for 25 years, his leadership became a “zero-institution,” in the same sense as articulated by Claude Lévi-Strauss. Kekkonen became an iconic figure in the society, whose status as the leader was never seriously challenged during his tenure. His private fishing ritual among his fishing “tribe” provided central content for his leadership mythology as an “able fisherman,” which he and his allies used for the purposes of furthering his political objectives. Along the emergence of his uncontested status in the society, the country’s “official line” in foreign policy became to be known as “Finnlandisierung” outside Finland; a culture in which a weak state yields to the demands of a stronger neighbor without direct military intervention. In light of this, we also discuss the potential of zero-institutions and similar “traumas” in association with the (ab)use of power in organizations and a culture of (self-)censorship.
Referentgranskad vetenskaplig tidskriftSemiotica
Sidor (från-till)458-473
Antal sidor16
StatusPublicerad - 16.09.2016
MoE-publikationstypA1 Originalartikel i en vetenskaplig tidskrift


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  • 616 Övriga humanistiska vetenskaper

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