Gift of Grace: Revolutionising Charismatic Authority in Latin America
MetadataShow full item record
This thesis has been prompted by puzzlement over an ambiguity that lies within the self-conceived role of Subcomandate Marcos, the enigmatic figure at the heart of the Zapatista Movement in Mexico. The central problem is that the charismatic authority that Marcos has established in Chiapas is discordant with his own critique of formalised political systems (including those of the traditional left), as well as with the progressive ideas on which Zapatismo is founded: an empowered civil society, an anti-authoritarian concept of power and a rejection of predetermined political doctrines. The thesis will argue that this ambiguity reflects an inherent tension, largely neglected in the literature, between the transformational and personalistic dimensions of charismatic authority. Its central argument is that the strategies of Subcomandate Marcos reflect his consciousness of the contradictory dynamics of charismatic authority when employed in service of an egalitarian socio-political cause. Marcos knows that his own charismatic authority is useful for building moral capital and for achieving a number of short-term goals, such as the mobilisation of the Indigenous people of Chiapas and global recognition of their plight. Moreover, by his innovative use of modern communications technology he has been able to project his charisma globally, achieving cult status on the international stage and gaining certain broad political advantage thereby.
Thesis (PhD Doctorate)
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Griffith Business School
Item Access Status
This thesis has been scanned.
Charisma (Personality trait)
Latin American politics and government.
Indigenous people of Chiapas
Zapatista Army of National Liberation